I am a bit of a history nerd, so, when #cjsreads decided to delve into a true crime/historical crime novel as one of our picks to kick off the New Year, I was intrigued. The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century, the non-fiction novel by Simon Baatz, followed the scandalous case of love, murder and betrayal by Evelyn Nesbit (the victim), Stanford White (the perpetrator) and Harry Thaw (the murderer).
I am always surprised when I read nonfiction how socially and culturally relevant many of the issues still are today. Evelyn Nesbit is raped by an older man (White) and is afraid to tell anyone based on social stigma and backlash. White seems to be untouchable due to his status and wealth. Truly, what else could be more socially relevant? Evelyn eventually marries Thaw and he, in revenge, murders White.
For the most part, the work focuses on the backstory and then Thaw’s trial after the murder was committed. While I did find this incredibly interesting, in theory, the delivery was a little confusing and dry for me at times. Lots of legislation and legal jargon was used that felt a little bit over my head and, in turn, pushed me out of the moment.
For lovers of true crime and legal non-fiction, I think this book would be a no-brainer. However, if you are looking for an on-the-edge of your seat suspense, then this would not be the case.
I gave it a solid 3/5 stars.