The Roaring Twenties crumble into the Great Depression, but Virginia Kingsley, New York's toughest and most successful speakeasy owner, is doing just fine. Now that the world is falling apart, bootlegging is a flourishing business, and she's queen of that castle.
Then her infant nephew is kidnapped. Her niece, Laura, and Laura's philandering movie star husband, are devastated. The police have few leads, and speculation and rumors abound in the media circus that follows the celebrity abduction.
Only one reporter, Erich Muller, seems to care enough about the child's welfare and the parents' feelings to report the case responsibly. Over the course of the investigation, Erich Muller and Laura fall in love, but their relationship is doomed to failure since he suspects her beloved aunt Virginia is behind the kidnapping. Laura, jaded when it comes to men, sides with Virginia.
But Virginia has figured out the truth, and she can't tell anyone for fear of losing her niece's affections and having the police ransack her life. So she pursues her own investigation, shaking down, threatening, and killing one petty crook after another during her search.
Little Todd's absence shapes everyone's lives. When he is finally found, the discovery will bring disaster for some and revelation for others.
Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi had the potential to be a really interesting story. What I struggled the most with was the main character: Laura. Her mostly absent emotions where her missing son was concerned drove me to distraction. The choices she makes throughout the book are hard to relate to and I could not form a connection to her at all.
A story of a missing child, prohibition, gangs and murder should have engrossed me, but unfortunately I found myself struggling to finish this book. The story was set in the early 1930’s, but I did not garner that from the narrative, in fact I found it difficult to visualize the world surrounding the characters at all. There were some twists and turns that kept me reading, but I found the characters to be shallow, and I felt Carol could have delved deeper to create a better bond between the reader and her characters. The story bounced around so much, not only between different points-of-view, but also between times and dates, which made the book hard to follow. There was a little mystery sprinkled throughout, and what made me push through to the end, was the need to find out if little Todd made it home or not. This book ends with a clear and concise finale, and I did not have any lingering questions that remained unanswered.