The Nowhere Child

The Nowhere Child by Christian White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“The Nowhere Child” is a debut psychological thriller by Christian White and it was so special! Several things cast their spell – my favourite genre; a very smart cover design; winner of the Victorian Premier Literary Award; and great ratings from the offset. It could only be a winner!

The book opens with an introduction to the main protagonist Kimberly (Kim) Leamy who is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-six years earlier, Sammy Went, a two-year-old girl vanished from her home in Manson, Kentucky. James Finn, an American accountant who contacts Kim is convinced she was that child, kidnapped just after her birthday. She cannot believe the woman who raised her crossed international lines to steal a toddler.

Jack and Molly Went’s daughter Sammy disappeared from their Kentucky home in 1990. Already estranged, the couple drifted further apart as time passed. Jack did his best to raise and protect his other daughter and son while Molly found solace in her faith. The Church of the Light Within, a Pentecostal fundamentalist group who handle poisonous snakes as part of their worship, provided that faith.

Now, with proof that she and Sammy are in fact the same person, Kim travels to America to reunite with a family she never knew she had and to solve the mystery of her abduction that will take her deep into the dark heart of religious fanaticism.

For me, Christian White’s writing is captivating and extremely well structured. Although the theme of a child being stolen is not particularly original, the clever telling of this story made it a joy to read. The chapters alternate between the past and the present, maintaining the reader’s attention. The chapters narrated in the past explore the impact of Sammy’s disappearance on her family and the community in which they live. The other chapters follow Kim’s pathway of discovery to the truth about her past.

The most gripping parts of “The Nowhere Child” were the chapters about the past, as the author unearthed long-buried secrets of Kim’s grieving family. It seemed that nearly every character from her past had something they wanted to be kept hidden. Revelations were made that included identity, betrayal, secrets, loss and a sinister cult. A tense story of menace and suspense, the story held my interest from start to finish and the way in which Christian White brought everything to a conclusion was just fabulous.

I loved “The Nowhere Child” and I would recommend it to anyone who likes this genre. It has left me eager to read more from this author in the future.

Thank you to #NetGalley, and HarperCollins UK for a free ARC of #NowhereChild in exchange for a voluntary, honest review.



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