Title: Rust and Stardust
Author: T. Greenwood
Genre: Historical Fiction/Suspense
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Rating: 5 Stars
TW: Child abuse (sexual, physical, and mental)
Synopsis: 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.
Rust and Stardust is the story of Sally Horner, an 11-year old girl who was kidnapped by Frank La Salle in 1948. T. Greenwood took the true facts of the case and used them to spin a story of what may have happened to young Sally in the years she was forced to travel across the country with La Salle. This story is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and at times very hard to read. It is told in many points of view, from Sally, to her mother, to the various people Sally meets along the way.
There are no words to describe the utter heartbreak I have after finishing this book. Sally is such a strong character, a strong person, and one that has definitely left an impression on me. I’m impressed with the way T. Greenwood has taken such a serious and awful subject and found a way to tell Sally’s story in a delicate and non-graphic way. Though I’ve added the trigger warnings above, the author does not spell out the terrible scenes in a graphic detail, but uses more of a fade-to-black method.
I have children of my own and my heart aches for the families that have had to go through something like this. This seems like a very melancholy review, but if you’re at all interested in Sally Horner’s kidnapping, I encourage you to read this book and then do some of your own research into the case.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book to review.
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