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The Nowhere Girl

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Member Reviews

This is one of the best books I have read in a while!

Margaret is an alcoholic who is trapped in an abusive relationship with her two girls Alice and Lilly.  She drinks herself into oblivion each day in an attempt to escape the reality of her life.  Her daughters are left to fend for themselves and Alice takes on the role of mother and protector of her younger sister Lilly. 

Alice is now a mother to her three boys and happily married but has scars of her neglectful upbringing and the abuse she suffered for years at the hands of her Step father, Vernon.  She begins a blog to try and help people going through similar situations and tells her story anonymously as part of her healing process.

Molly is a writer who has been researching stories of child abuse and comes across Alice's blog and something seems so familiar.  When she questions her mother about it she finds there are secrets her parents have kept from her and her whole life is not as it seems. 

This is an emotional story of survival and love between sisters that will have you grabbing for the tissues! 

#Netgalley #TheNowhereGirl #NicoleTrope
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Such a heartwarming sweet story told between past and present from different perspectives about a girl who had grown up with a terrible childhood and it seemed like someone knew her secret. Amazing characters and a lovely story.
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4.5★s

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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This book is excellent!  I had to put it down a few times because I was at work and had to work......but I hated to.  When I finally got home I was able to finish with no distractions.  Let's just start with the writing being amazing.  Yep, it was.  It was an "I couldn't put it down!" kind of book.  A book about domestic abuse, sexual abuse, alcoholism, child abuse...but also a book about women who are strong and the bond between sisters and 
motherhood. As someone who has experienced childhood abuse I read this book without shock, just reading along.  It was so familiar.  So when I read the end thoughts by the author in which she says that authors often ask themselves "Did I get it right?" it dawned on me that she did get it right.  It was so parallel to my thoughts and feelings that I didn't even look at it from a different point of view. For me it was just how it was.  But I can see how other readers might read it with horror, unimaginable.  So yes, Nicole Trope, you got it right.  So says a survivor, overcomer, and healed woman with beautiful children and a loving husband.

#TheNowhereGirl #NetGalley
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WOW! I don't know where to begin with this book. Nicole Trope always manages to draw her readers in and deliver a powerful story with elements of mystery woven throughout but upon finishing it, THE NOWHERE GIRL rendered me speechless. I literally bawled for the last few chapters. It was heartbreaking, it was heartwarming, it was powerful. And I loved it!!

Trigger warning: confronting issues and scenes of child sexual abuse depicted. Also featured is domestic violence, alcoholism, miscarriage and Alzhiemer's.

Alice Stetson has a happy life. Her husband Jack is a doctor, she has three beautiful boys - 14 year old Isaac and twin 9 year olds Gus and Gabe - and lives in the affluent suburb of Greenwich on Sydney's lower north shore. But Alice's life was not always like that. Her mother was an alcoholic, her stepfather abusive and her baby sister Lilly was tragically killed whilst Alice tried saving her. In trying to protect Lilly she had inadvertently caused her death and she has lived with the guilt ever since.

No one knows this secret she carries...not even her husband. But now it seems somebody does, as Alice has been receiving emails claiming "I know what you did." And the horrors of her past come crashing back engulfing her in memories she has spent a lifetime trying to escape. And now Alice would do anything to protect her family and keep them safe.

Molly Khan is a writer researching childhood abuse for her next story. She discovers a website where survivors can share their own experiences and in doing so comes across the story of a woman who calls herself Meredith. Whilst reading the story, Molly feels a shocking sense of recognition - she remembers the cupboard, the mouldy smell, the pink blanket and "Foggy". Molly reaches for her own green stuffed toy frog she's had ever since she could remember that she called "Foggy".

Why is she remembering things referenced in someone else's story of abuse? Molly has had a happy childhood. She has two loving parents and a younger sister Lexie. She knows no one called Meredith...if that is even her real name. But she remembers these things. She can remember looking through the crack in the cupboard door and seeing "the big man" who frightened her. And the whisper of her big sister's voice saying "Go to sleep, little one" as she snuggles into her pink blanket cuddling "Foggy". Molly is also plagued by dreams of being on a long and lonely dark road with stones in her little feet. What does all this mean?

Margaret Henkel is a woman who has given up on herself. She got pregnant at 16, married the love of her life and had a baby daughter Alice whom they both doted on. But when Alice was 6, Margaret's life ended with the death of her husband Adam. And that's when the nightmare began. She started to drink to forget her pain. The vodka gave her back her Adam but took away her dignity. Soon she couldn't even get herself out of bed. Then Vernon moved in. At first he was nice and looked after them. He made sure the fridge was stocked, the bills were paid and that she had plenty of vodka. She didn't even have to do anything, Vernon took care of it all. All she had to do was lose herself to oblivion and stay in bed. But then things changed. She became Vernon's punching bag and Alice asked when was he going to leave? But Margaret was scared of him leaving them - what would she do? How would she cope? She was nothing. She was stupid. She was useless. So Margaret decided they should have a baby together and then there was Lilly.

Alice adored Lilly from the first moment she set eyes on her. She became her parent as she took care of Lilly's daily needs such as feeding, changing and protected her from Vernon's wrath. Lilly didn't even recognise Margaret as her mother but rather an occasional visitor who slept most of the time. Alice despised the mother she had once adored. She couldn't even get up and look after her children properly. At 10 years old, Alice was Lilly's parent.

And then one day...Lilly was gone. When Margaret and Vernon asked where she was, Alice just shrugged and said she was gone. Dead.

Now Margaret is in a care home in the late stages of early onset Alzheimer's and lives in a bubble. She constantly tells the staff and Alice that Adam and Vernon have visited but Alice knows that is not possible. Adam, her father, is dead and Vernon is in prison. Alice doesn't know why she visits her mother or cares for her as she clearly didn't care for her when she was a child and needed her. Half the time she doesn't even know who she is. And yet, Alice just wants her mother to apologise...for not loving her enough, for not protecting her.

Told from three perspectives throughout - Alice, Molly and Margaret - THE NOWHERE GIRL features the past and the present that is both captivating and compelling. It is clear from early on the direction this story is going but it's the journey getting there that is the most intriguing. How the ties that bind are woven together to create the tapestry that is the bigger picture is somewhat poignant.

THE NOWHERE GIRL is a complex and very disturbing tale that your heart just aches for those involved. I found myself incredibly sad for Margaret as a young girl who really had no life experience and was left without a life jacket to drown in a sea of grief after the death of her husband who had been her anchor. To be rescued by the likes of Vernon, a predator who seeks out the vulnerable and preys on their weaknesses only to find herself caught within a cycle from which she cannot escape...was just heartbreaking.

I cannot find the words to describe just how moving THE NOWHERE GIRL was. I was literally in tears during the final chapters wondering how it was all going to play out. It was heartbreaking and yet it was also heartwarming. As I reached the final page, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at the satisfying end.

I have seen some say the story was predictable. Yes, this is true. In fact, I predicted much of it from early on but that didn't spoil it for me. I was intrigued by what the journey would deliver as I uncovered more to the secrets that were as yet unknown. I wanted to see how it would pan out, and what would become of Alice, Molly and Margaret. And discover who was taunting Alice with a message from her past. While some of it is predictable, there are others that aren't. And for me, the entire journey was a moving and powerful one that I could not drag myself from for one minute.

I have only read one other Nicole Trope and I was enamoured by that one as well. The fact that she is a fellow Australian depicting suburbs and areas known to me make her books and even more attractive prospect that I find I have to read. And I am glad I discovered her. She is fast becoming one of my favourite go-to authors and I look forward to what she has in store for us next!

Not a thriller as such, more a domestic drama with elements of mystery, THE NOWHERE GIRL is powerful, captivating, heartbreaking and heartwarming. I definitely recommend it!

I would like to thank #NicoleTrope, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheNowhereGirl in exchange for an honest review.
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The Nowhere Girl by Nicole Trope is my first book by this author and it won't be my last.
A gut wrenching family drama that is extremely well written. The author had me feeling as if the events were happening right in front of me.
The story revolves around three women, Alice, Molly and Margaret. Their story is a riveting tale of how the traumatic events of their lives had both damaged and refined them.
Difficult subjects written with great sensitivity!
Highly Recommended!

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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The nowhere girl by Nicole Troupe. 
If you passed Alice on the street, you couldn’t help but smile. At how she holds hands with her husband, Jack, who she has been with since she was at university. At the way she admires her three 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 pain she hides behind her 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 her little sister she failed to save. 
A brilliant read with some good characters. Lots of emotions.  5*.
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The Nowhere Girl by Nicole Trope is the third book I have read by her. I think it is also my favorite! Each of her stories always seems to touch something deep inside, and this one was especially heart-rending. The story focuses on Alice, a mother with a past and a secret that she feels might be her undoing one day. She had a little sister, Lily, and in her desperation to protect her, Lily died. She has lived with that secret for her entire life, but it is coming back to haunt her. She is getting strange emails and deliveries. She is reliving her terrible childhood, all of the abuse and pain that haunts her. When her past shows up at her door, what will she do? Read and find out! Very good book. Very well written! I will definitely be on the lookout for Trope's next book!
I received a free copy of this story from NetGalley through the publisher for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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This was a very hard book to read. The detail of horror that these women faced were excruciating .... the way it all wrapped up was well done, and I felt like for all the awfulness, there was closure. A painful yet eye opening read.
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3.5 This was good but predictable.

It is not a mystery/thriller, but a family drama. There were no surprises other than a small one at the nursing home. Regardless, it was well written and very engrossing. 

The story is very potent in the past sequences, extremely hard to read of the abuse and neglect. It moves from past to present and alternates narrators masterfully. 

I was quite satisfied at the conclusion. I think if you are looking for suspense you might be a bit disappointed. Having said that, it was a really good story that I would recommend. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Bookouture for a copy in exchange for a review.
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Well written drama, captivating from start to finish.

So full of emotions!  Heartbreaking story told in 3 POVs : Alice, Molly, Margaret.
Dysfunctional family, abusive, scary, raw, shocking, sad!  This is reality to many... 
The storyline and characters are well developed with moments from the past and the present to understand the way things were before, how it can change and affect you then and now...  You get to know them, feel for them, want to hug those little girls/women.

An eye opener to a reality that stays behind closed doors too much. 

Get this book now and get tissues. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC of this book.  This is my honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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Not what I was expecting because it didn't come with any warnings about the subject matters covered, and they are difficult and emotional ones. Having said that, they were dealt with sensitively and well and I applaud authors who don't shy away from such things.
The book revolves around three women, Alice, Molly and Margaret. Each has their own timeline, each has their own difficulties, each has their own suffering.
I found this well written and engrossing and apart from a warning needed for some readers, I would recommend this book.
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Devastating, compelling, and in need of several trigger warnings, this book is terrifyingly good, though a really hard read.  Shocking, painful, and still great writing.  Catharsis isn't easy to come by, and this book provides a measure of it, though at a huge cost.
Not for the faint of heart, or those easily triggered.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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TRIGGER WARNING: this book deals with miscarriage, domestic and sexual abuse, and alcoholism
As you can see from the trigger warning, this is a devastating book. It is also a brilliant read, so if you are not sensitive to any of the issues mentioned above, then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
Three women linked by a past too terrible to describe.
Alice was abused by her mum’s lover and cared for her little sister whilst her mother slept in an alcohoic fug. Her mother is now in a nursing home with dementia.
Margaret has lost the love of her life who saved her from her miserable childhood. She finds a new man who keeps her under control with beatings and vodka, leaving her daughters to fend for themselves.
Molly reads a blog post about abusive childhoods and it triggers sad memories that make no sense due to her own loving parents. Meanwhile, her own journey to be a mother has been destroyed by six miscarriages: she is pregnant again but expects tragedy any moment…
The Nowhere Girl is absolutely heartbreaking, I won’t deny it. It is also incredibly compelling and emotional. I fluctuated between anger and sorrow at Margaret’s behaviour and perspective, and hope and horror for Alice and Molly. In fact, I would say it has been a long time since I felt such an emotional grip pulsing from a book.
The characters are all so realistic that it makes their suffering heartbreaking to read. The ending was perhaps a little convoluted but the plot was absolutely gripping from start to finish.
The different viewpoints really make this book superb as we are able to see the emotional impact of events of the main characters. Margaret is the most complex character as we see her journey into despair that leads her to fail to protect her daughters. However, her selfishness and addiction also make her unlikeable despite her own pain. Molly and Alice present a feeling of hope that their pasts can be overcome and they won’t make the same mistakes with their own children.
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This is the first book that I have  read written by Nicole  Trope. I am only a prologue and one chapter in, and I am already intrigued. 

The story opens being written through the eyes of Alice, who clearly had a troubled childhood. She is now the mother of three boys, living an apparently settled life in suburban Australia. 

As the novel moves on alternating chapters written in the voice of Molly and Margaret appear. Some set back in time to 1987. All of the characters are carefully crafted and I like the way that apparently disconnected aspects of the narrative are developing. 

I need to be careful about spoiling the book for other readers. Suffice to say that several characters  have something in their past of which they are not proud. 

Although I found much of the subject matter very disturbing, I was impressed by the way in which Nicole Trope developed the story. Each time something is revealed it opens up yet another mystery. 

There are a few exciting twists and turns in the plot as the story unravels. 

On the strength of this novel I will look out for earlier and future books by this author. 

I give my thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for a copy in exchange for this review.
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a heart rendering story with a happy ending. At first I was a bit lost but once I realised that the characters were all being introduced I found myself engrossed in this story of abuse and utter despair. How children can love through the ordeal of abuse and still have the energy and self worth to become caring, loving adults with so much to give is beyond me.   This is a story of fear, despair, strength and survival, who am sure you will enjoy. I give it 3.5
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
4 stars
The Nowhere Girl
Nicole Trope
Publication date 1/28/20

The Nowhere Girl is a heart wrenching story of growing up in a very abusive environment. Alice is the big sister basically raising her little sister Lily. The house is filled with dysfunction, secrets and squalor. My heart broke for these two little girls and all they endured. This story follows 3 women Alice, Margaret and Molly from 1987 - present day.. You learn about how complex each character is and how they came to be who they are today. Told from different points of view this story unravels.  There are many secrets that unfold and many twists and turns. This emotional story was hard to put down and while it was heartbreaking it had some heartwarming elements too. 

Thank you the Netgalley and  Bookouture for providing me the ARC for my honest review of The Nowhere Girl.

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Before I even begin my review – please, please, please be aware of some serious potential triggers involving poor parenting (putting it lightly), domestic violence and child abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional). 

The Nowhere Girl is told from three different POV: Alice, Molly, and Margaret. Alice is married to Jack and has three sons. She loves her children and her husband and her basically happy life. However, Alice suffered unimaginable abuse as a child and still struggles. Molly is happily married to Peter and has a very close relationship with her parents and her sister. She is a writer currently writing a book about abused children and desperately wants her own child despite multiple miscarriages. Margaret’s POV is mostly told in the past tense. She meets a man and falls in love, gets married, has a child, and so on. However, her life suddenly changes and she finds herself on a downward spiral complete with severe alcoholism and an abusive partner, Vernon. 

This is my first time reading anything by Nicole Trope and it was a page-turner for me. The characters were raw and honest. Her imagery is so strong that there were times I felt as if I could smell what they were smelling and feel the sensations they were experiencing. Which, in a book this creepy isn’t always a good thing, yet I am still blown away by her descriptions. I think the picture she painted of Vernon’s physical appearance and odors will stay with me (unfortunately) for quite a while after reading this novel. 

A good portion of this novel is a slow reveal of details about Alice, Molly, and Margaret and what has happened in their lives. It’s definitely a slow-burn as far as suspense/thrillers go, which at times felt over-written and slow. Listed as 322 pages I can’t help but wonder if it would have been as good or better if cut to 275? But I still really enjoyed this read and definitely recommend it with caveats.

Maybe something is wrong with me, but I didn’t really need the Kleenex until about the last 10-15% of the novel and they were mainly happy tears but mixed with regrets for Alice and Molly. However, I can see someone easily crying for about 75-80% of this novel because the plot and subject matter is so difficult. I, personally, was brought into this world with a very shitty mother whose picture you would probably see if you looked up “emotional abuse” in the dictionary, yet I still enjoyed this book and it held my interest. But the abuse scenes are very difficult and your stomach will turn, no matter who you are and what your life has been like.

The Nowhere Girl is hard at times and you will definitely feel emotionally taxed at the end, but it’s well-written and a great example of good psychological fiction. Again, the stand-out for me in this novel is the characters, how Nicole Trope made them come to life, and the imagery. Alice will forever be my hero for enduring what she did and carrying on with her life. She is certainly a character that I will not forget. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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The themes of domestic and child abuse will undoubtedly trigger some readers but push through, and you’ll find a stunning, unflinching look at how resilience and love can overcome even the direst of situations. The author does a fantastic job of capturing a wide range of thoughts and feelings as long-hidden family secrets come to light. The characters were well-developed and the plot, although difficult to read at times, was tight and thought-provoking. I certainly recommend this book. For a full review, please visit my blog at Fireflies and Free Kicks. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for a digital ARC of the book.
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This book was very predictable and repetitive. I just wanted it to be over. The book dealt with sexual abuse, alcoholism, secrets, domestic violence , Alzheimer’s, miscarriages, adoption and sisterly love. The bond between the sisters was the saving grace in this depressing book. The three main female characters were strong figures . Book just came together too perfectly .
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