"I'd know you anywhere," accompanied by a picture taken at one of those functions. It's from her captor Walter Bowman. Virginia has set his execution date, and anti-death penalty advocate Barbara LaFortunay forwarded his letter to Eliza. But why? Barbara so desperately wants to save Walter's life that she not only puts Eliza and Walter in contact but also entices the author of a long-forgotten true crime book about Walter's crimes back to Baltimore with the promise of a sequel. Trudy Tacket's internal monologue focuses on Walter's death, the ultimate retribution for her daughter. Neither Barbara nor Trudy are particularly sympathetic characters. Barbara is a zealot whose cause I support but whose character I disliked. Trudy suffered the greatest tragedy I can imagine, but she comes across as not only justly bitter but as a woman who was, well, a shallow snob obsessed with surface appearances. Lippmann also surprised me by not making the writer sleazy. He's a schlubby guy who lives in a row house in Philadelphia and works for the state. True crime is a hobby, something that keeps him away from his wife's reality TV habit and which probably gives him something to think about on SEPTA.
But what does Eliza want? How does speaking with, and eventually meeting, the man who kidnapped and raped her, fit into her life? She's busy protecting her children, pre-teen Iso and 8-year-old Albie, both of whom are adjusting to school in the United States for the first time. Somehow, LIppman turns I'd Know You Anywhere into a healing story - for Eliza. Barbara loses Walter, and we suspect that Walter's death leaves Trudy feeling empty because she no longer has a focus for her grief. 23 years later, Eliza finally comes to terms with what happened "the summer she was 15."