Published: January 28th, 2020
Format: Kindle, Paperback
Genre: Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Trigger Warnings: Childhood and sexual abuse, neglect, addiction, miscarriage.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Nowhere Girl. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and my gifted copy of the book.
‘Please,’ she whispers, too quietly for anyone to hear. ‘Please help.’ But there is no one. Where is everyone? Help should be racing up the road, screeching to a stop. Help should be here but it’s not. It’s as far away as it’s ever been.
If you passed Alice on the street, you couldn’t help but smile. At how she holds hand with her husband, Jack, who she has been with since university. At the way she admires her three beloved boys, the centre of her universe.
But if you looked very closely, you’d see how tightly she holds Jack’s hand, afraid to let go. You’d see how carefully she watches her boys, scared to look away. You’d see her smile fading in a matter of seconds, and the secret she hides behind her chestnut-brown eyes.
She has told Jack that she ran away from home when she was younger – but she didn’t tell him the whole story. Her husband doesn’t know about the guilt she bears about the little sister she failed to save, the secret that torments her.
Now, after a lifetime of fresh starts, Alice receives a message spelling out her past. Everything she cherishes, the world she has lovingly built, threatens to collapse in on her. Without her family, she is nothing – and Alice will stop at nothing to save them.
This wasn’t an easy book to read. With themes of abuse, addiction and neglect it is a heartbreaking story that told of the evil that lurks inside some people and the lasting repercussions their terrible actions have on their victims. But it was also a story about courage, survival and strength. The story moves seamlessly between the dual timelines to tell the stories of three women and how tragic events that occurred thirty years ago changed their lives forever.
The three narrators were complex, fractured and tragically real. I liked Alice and admired her strength, how she’d managed to build a happy family instead of repeating her mother’s mistakes. Reading what she went through as a child was devastating and I admired her for still visiting her ailing mother despite the agony it caused her and felt a deep sense of injustice for the fact she would never get the acknowledgement or apology she deserved. Molly was a likeable character and the one I related to most of all, having suffered a similar pain in trying to have children myself. It seemed immediately obvious who Molly was, and my heart hurt for what was to come when she ultimately learned the truth of her birth and dreadful past. I found myself on edge when reading her chapters because I was anticipating it happening and scared she would face another tragedy with this pregnancy. Margaret was certainly not a likeable character but I liked the author’s decision to give her a voice. It meant that instead of simply being an evil villain we see the nuance to her character, see the broken and weak woman inside and learn why she ended up the way she did. Her story is tragic and I definitely had mixed feelings about her. While there was some empathy for what she’d gone through as a child and the devastating loss of her husband, I couldn’t shake my anger at what she allowed to happen to her own children: her nonchalance at their existence and focus on her own pain being eased. I wanted to scream at her to stop being so bloody weak and protect her children. Her story highlighted how addiction ravages more than just the person addicted. I think she was let down by the system as well as her children, as if the authorities had noticed what was happening to the kids, they would have seen what was happening to her too. With help all of them could have had a very different life.
This was the first time I have read a book by this author and I will definitely be reading more. She wrote about a multitude of tragic and difficult subjects and every one was written with skillful sensitivity. She portrayed the character’s pain vividly and made them all so real it was easy to forget I was reading a work of fiction rather than a harrowing true story. The story started slowly, steadily picking up pace until it was so tense and compelling that I couldn’t tear myself away.
The Nowhere Girl is a deftly told, stark and poignant novel. Despite its bleak themes it is also a hopeful story of forgiveness and the healing power of love. It is a powerful and emotional story that I would recommend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nicole Trope went to university to study Law but realised the error of her ways when she did very badly on her first law essay because-as her professor pointed out- ‘It’s not meant to be a story.’ She studied teaching instead and used her holidays to work on her writing career and complete a Masters’ degree in Children’s Literature. After the birth of her first child she stayed home full time to write and raise children, renovate houses and build a business with her husband.
The idea for her first published novel, The Boy under the Table, was so scary that it took a year for her to find the courage to write the emotional story. Her second novel, Three Hours Late, was voted one of Fifty Books you can’t put down in 2013 and her third novel, The Secrets in Silence, was The Australian Woman’s Weekly Book of the month for June 2014.
She lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.
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