5-Star Review: Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood
The gripping, heart-wrenching novel of Sally Horner, the 11-year-old kidnapping victim whose abduction in 1948 inspired Nabokov's Lolita. Camden, NJ, 1948. When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth's, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute―unless she does as he says. This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way. Based on the experiences of real-life kidnapping victim Sally Horner and her captor, whose story shocked the nation and inspired Vladimir Nabokov to write his controversial and iconic Lolita, this heart-pounding story by award-winning author T. Greenwood at last gives a voice to Sally herself.
What a gorgeous novel. I don't know if I was quite prepared for it. Sally Horner's story was one I was familiar with only in passing--I'd read Lolita, I'd heard the name and of her kidnapping, but I didn't really know. Well, now I do. T. Greenwood gets into the head of Sally Horner and gives her breath and life. I couldn't put Rust & Stardust down, even when I wanted to, knowing it was going to break my heart.
Greenwood's prose is gorgeous, as is her pacing and characterization. Even though this is Sally's story, there are others who help tell it, and I love the cast she introduces (some based on real life, others imagined). Sally's family feels real, as do their joys, their sorrows, and their reactions. Even if you're like me and love to spoil yourself by looking up Sally Horner's story, you can't help but breathlessly blaze through the chapters, waiting for help to come, ready for some kind of happy ending for this girl and almost literally everyone in her life.
I can't recommend this book enough. This was my first T. Greenwood novel, but it won't be the last.
Should you read it? Yes! You want to read one of the most beautifully written and captivating novels of the year. I first read this book in April and I am still thinking about it.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Expected publication August 7, 2018 by St. Martin's Press