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The Nowhere Girl by Nicole Trope
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The Nowhere Girl is the tenth novel by Australian author, Nicole Trope. Despite being a good mother to her three boys, forty-two-year-old Alice Stetson is plagued by feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. It’s not surprising: the abuse she suffered as a child has to have left scars. But her husband Jack is supportive and understanding, always, and she manages. Now, though, an anonymous email has triggered her anxiety and the feelings of guilt she has tried for thirty-two years to bury: “I know what you did.”

Published author, Molly Khan often finds the research for her book on child abuse confronting, but when she reads Meredith’s story on the “My Secret” blog, it resonates so strongly with her that she feels like she was present for it. It is, of course, impossible that she should have memories of what Meredith describes; and the strange dreams that follow seem so real, but it just doesn’t fit with the happy childhood she remembers having.

Margaret Henkel had only been widowed four months, and life was defeating her. There were overdue bills and there was six-year-old Alice to look after, but Adam was gone. When Vernon turned up with food and vodka and company, how could she say no?

The story is carried in three separate narrative strands: two in the present day; one over a few critical days in 1987. From the outset, what happened to the sisters is obvious, even if not how it happened, but the strength of this family drama is in the characters, their resilience and determination, and this is more than enough to keep the pages turning.

Trope is skilled at portraying the grief and despair that follows the death of a close spouse, and the vulnerability that can result in a vicious downward spiral. Insidious loss of power, acceptance of violence as the norm, denial of abuse, and dissociative coping technique all feature. There is one fail, in a crucial (but incorrect) detail on which a significant part of the story hangs, that loses this excellent novel half a star. Moving, thought-provoking and unputdownable.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Bookouture.
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Reading Progress

April 14, 2020 – Shelved
April 14, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
April 19, 2020 – Started Reading
April 19, 2020 –
April 20, 2020 –
April 20, 2020 –
April 20, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Dale (new)

Dale Harcombe Interesting review Marianne.

message 2: by PattyMacDotComma (last edited Apr 23, 2020 12:38AM) (new)

PattyMacDotComma Excellent review, Marianne. Did you point out the error to the publisher, or is there no way to correct it to make the plot hang together?

Never mind - I just saw your comments about that on a group thread.

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