Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi

A crime story set in the 1930’s complete with speakeasies and gangsters. A toddler, Todd, is kidnapped while playing at Willow Pond with his nanny. His mother, Laura, a suppressed housewife at the time, and his father, Phillip, a famous actor, try to find their missing boy.

Crimes in the 1930’s were solved by police and newspaper reporters. In this investigation, it took about a year and a half because of incompetence by both.

Laura lived with her Aunt Virginia for most of her life after her parents died in an accident. Virginia was the owner of a speakeasy and had questionable connections. She used them to help find Todd.

Most of the story’s tension comes from the relationship between Laura and Virginia. Laura wants to become her own woman after being stifled in her marriage, and Virginia is a very strong and powerful woman. They clash during their efforts to find Todd, each using different methods, and Laura has a hard time in the end when Virginia’s hidden tactics comes to light.

Willow Pond flows beautifully as Tibaldi masters introducing and building her characters. She integrates the history of the era when apropos.

Tibaldi sheds light on how a woman owner of a speakeasy spends her day, how cops and reporters try to solve crimes back in the day, and how women are perceived in and out of marriage.

Tibaldi includes romance to Willow Pond. What would a good story be without lovers and tough decisions? Laura has her share of ups and downs and readers will enjoy the ride.

I recommend Willow Pond for readers who enjoy romance and crime. It’s a quick and easy read.

I would have liked to see more history of the time period integrated throughout the story.

As far as Laura’s character is concerned, for me, I just didn’t like her. She drove me crazy! There was not enough effort being done to find her son and she went on with her life way too fast and cheerfully to suit me during the year and a half. I realize one must go on, but I thought Laura should have experienced more anguish during such a time. Instead she had it pretty easy and it seemed her character would have been more realistic if the scale was tipped more in hardship than good times.

I was born and raised on Long Island so I was very familiar with Suffolk County and all the towns in the story. With this in mind, it was quite the read for me.

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