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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Susan Elmore’s novel, Nameless Indignities: Unraveling the Mystery of One of Illinois's Most Infamous Crimes, is a non-fiction, true crime story that happened in the late 1800s. Emma Bond, a young schoolteacher is viciously gang-raped and left for dead in her school. She miraculously survives and, as her case makes newspaper headlines across the United States of America, she endures a life of severe mental and physical difficulties. The physical wounds inflicted on her are so horrendous that the shocked press refer to them as 'nameless indignities.' Eighteen months later, a trial begins and three of the six suspects are subsequently convicted. Public opinion, however, shifts as rumors that she made up the story begin to circulate. This is a true to life story that profoundly wounds a young schoolteacher, a community and a nation and it still reverberates until today.
Winner of the IndieFab Gold and the IPPY Bronze awards, Nameless Indignities: Unraveling the Mystery of One of Illinois's Most Infamous Crimes, is an extremely interesting read. As the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction, and this is exactly what comes to mind as I go on a dizzying ride from the first to the last chapters of this book. A crime is committed and there are several suspects. What follows is a string of dramatic events with lynch mobs, perjury and bribery accusations, botched kidnapping, shattered families, suicides and other upheavals. Author Susan Elmore uncovers new evidence on a 130-year-old case that has shocked the nation and directly impacted the lives of a number of people in the community, including her family because Emma Bond happens to be her great-aunt. The result is a novel that gives its readers a general look at criminal law, medicine, psychology, journalism, and life in the US during the Victorian age. Emma Bond's story is extremely touching, it leaves an aftertaste in my mouth. This is a well-researched book that is certainly difficult to put down!