Friday, August 17, 2018

Review: Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Title: Rust & Stardust
Author: T. Greenwood
Published: August 2018, St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher

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.

My thoughts: This is the first time I've read anything by T. Greenwood, though I am familiar with her name, and do have another book sitting on my shelf (or rather in a box somewhere is storage) by her. This book, though, will certainly go down as one of my favorites of hers - it is so beautifully written, despite the fact that it tore my heart into pieces time and again.

This book is the fictional retelling of Sally Horner's kidnapping by Frank LaSalle and I fully admit to not knowing much about this case. And I purposely did not look anything up prior to reading this book as I wanted to experience it as T. Greenwood presented it. And I'm so glad I chilling and heartbreaking as it was.

This is the kind of story that totally gets under your skin, yet it is also one that you cannot walk away from until you read that very last page. T. Greenwood does a fantastic job putting us right into the story, telling it from not only Sally's point of view, but also from other peoples points of view that were integral in Sally's life - her mother, her sister and a few other important women Sally meets, as well as Sally's brother-in-law, Al. You feel their pain and their despair at not knowing what to do to get Sally back.

This book packs such an emotional punch. It is loaded with triggers - both physical and mental abuse - but written in such a way that you are left to use your imagination to fill in the blanks. It is not overtly graphic in any way, yet you know that abuse is happening. 

An intense read that requires introspection while reading, it is definitely one of the best works of historical fiction I've read in a long time and certainly one I will for sure not be forgetting any time soon. I've never read Nabokov's Lolita, but knowing that Sally Horner's disappearance is what provided his inspiration, I am definitely putting it on my list to read. And this book is most definitely getting a place of honor on my bookshelf - it deserves it!!!


1 comment

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