Willow Pond, A book review

A review for Freebooksy Reviews

Willow Pond
By Carol Tibaldi
Available in EBook and Paperback formats
Publisher: Create Space
ISBN-10: 1468111728
ISBN-13: 978-1468111729
325 Pages
Available at Amazon

Reviewed for 3 Stars

Ebook copy provided by author/review site for purpose of honest review.  I was not compensated for this review in any way, all conclusions are honestly given and entirely my responsibility.

This book is set in 1929 – 1931, centered in the city of New York and the Long Island communities.  I can’t quite determine if this is a romance with a mystery – or a mystery with romance to enhance the drama.  If you are looking for a read that has some romance with your mystery – or mystery with your romance: this is the book for you.  The story is paced well with a good premise, and the characters do work within the story to keep the plot moving forward.

Laura, the heroine, is separated from her movie star husband Phillip, and takes a small apartment in the Greenwich Village area of New York City with her infant son Todd.  On his first extended visitation with his son, Phillip leaves him on his Long Island estate, and heads off on a publicity stunt/junket for his studio, and the child is kidnapped.   We are introduced to the utterly self-centered and selfish attitude of Phillip: his character is never developed beyond that rather wooden stereotype, even with overly vocal attempts by his ex-wife, Laura, to convince us otherwise. Perhaps the “flatness” of Phillip is enhanced by the wonderfully well developed and often surprising voice of Laura. While the story is set in the relatively ‘repressed’ late 1920’s to early 1930’s as compared to this millennium, her attitudes towards sex, illegal actions of her aunt, and her own desire to raise her child alone are all rare attitudes of the time for a “respectable woman”.

We are introduced to her aunt, Virginia Kingsley, a woman who owns a speakeasy, and is busy living the dichotomous life: dealing with Capone-like mobsters and maintaining her “woman of quality” reputation. Again, Laura is her most vehement defender, preferring to accept the omissions of the ‘real story’ from her aunt.  The police that we encounter are all focused on Virginia as a suspect, with her connections to the ‘dark side’ of bootlegging and influence peddling. The police almost to a man  are portrayed as rather simple, bumbling  and ineffective at police work.

Enter the mix, a Pulitzer Award winning journalist Erich Mueller, who is brought in to bring some “public interest’ to the story in the hopes that leads will be generated.  He and Laura are instantly attracted, and he is, with the police, convinced her aunt is more involved in the child’s disappearance than she is willing to admit.

There are several other minor characters that are developed in a two dimensional sense: the less savory characters are wholly greasy without redeeming features.  In the main characters of Phillip, Virginia and Erich; there is not a great deal of complexity in character development that would make a more believable and real person.

I found significant editorial issues in this book in the form of continuity, language appropriate to the time, and some historical inaccuracies.  As for editorial issues, continuity is not maintained with any sort of consistency; there is a near 7 month break in which no explanation is offered, there are conflicts of dates and holidays.  Language in the 1930’s did not utilize words like “Hot” to refer to sexy, or “Catch a Flight” to talk about an airline journey. In fact, commercial airline travel was not common in the United States (and most of Europe) until after this story is said to have taken place.  I do believe that another round with an editor could have resolved these issues.

All that being said – I did give this book 3 stars as an enjoyable read, while it didn’t fully rise to my longed for expectations, the pace and writing did make the story move forward easily.


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