The Nowhere Child by Christian White reviewed

The Nowhere Child Book Cover The Nowhere Child
Christian White
HarperCollins UK
January 22, 2019

Kimberly Leamy 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. 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, a loving social worker who died of cancer four years ago, crossed international lines to steal a toddler.

On April 3rd, 1990, Jack and Molly Went’s daughter Sammy disappeared from the inside their Kentucky home. Already estranged since the girl’s birth, 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. Without Sammy, the Wents eventually fell apart.

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—a mystery that will take her deep into the dark heart of religious fanaticism where she must fight for her life against those determined to save her soul…

I enjoyed the start of The Nowhere Child – Christian White. Kim, an Australian photographer in her twenties, is approached by an American who believes she may have been abducted as a child from a small town in America. This is obviously nonsense isn’t it – she can’t be Sammy, can she? The only person who would be likely to be able to tell her would have been her mother however she is now dead.

The Nowhere Child looks at this scenario is two time frames. The current one is the journey that Kim embarks on to try and find out the truth. The other thread is what actually went on in Manson (small town America) around the time of Sammy’s disappearance.

I found the book pacey enough and easily readable. However I did find that this was maybe not the book I was expecting. “Girl discovers she was abducted as a young child – grows up a long way from home – finds out and gets to know her family and what happened.” Maybe yes and maybe no. More deeply this is perhaps about fractured families and fractured relationships and that worked for me.

I enjoyed the Nowhere Child overall even if I was not blown away. Parts are quite powerful though sometimes the story seemed to lack depth oddly. If I have any real reservations about this book it would be that I did not find the characters particularly strong. Kim is good however the majority of the others seemed rather shadowy to me. I felt this was a shame as some of the people seemed interesting.

It was not a book I would have stopped reading at any stage. However I have some doubts that it will remain in my memory for all that long. I’d like to read something else by this author in the future.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review