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Winner of the Victorian Premiers Literary Award, The Nowhere Child is screenwriter Christian Whites internationally bestselling debut thriller of psychological suspense about a woman uncovering devastating secrets about her familyand her very identity Kimberly Leamy is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-six years earlier, Sammy Went, a two-year old girl Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, The Nowhere Child is screenwriter Christian White’s internationally bestselling debut thriller of psychological suspense about a woman uncovering devastating secrets about her family—and her very identity… 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…


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Winner of the Victorian Premiers Literary Award, The Nowhere Child is screenwriter Christian Whites internationally bestselling debut thriller of psychological suspense about a woman uncovering devastating secrets about her familyand her very identity Kimberly Leamy is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-six years earlier, Sammy Went, a two-year old girl Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, The Nowhere Child is screenwriter Christian White’s internationally bestselling debut thriller of psychological suspense about a woman uncovering devastating secrets about her family—and her very identity… 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…

30 review for The Nowhere Child

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The Nowhere Child by Christian White is a 2019 Minotaur Books publication. An unconventional spin on the child kidnapping thriller- When Kimberly Leamy, a photographer living in Melbourne, Australia is approached by a total stranger claiming she is Sammy Went, the toddler who disappeared twenty-six years ago in Manson, Kentucky, she is highly skeptical. However, she still feels compelled to look through a few old family photos, where, to her dismay, she discovers her baby pictures bear a striking The Nowhere Child by Christian White is a 2019 Minotaur Books publication. An unconventional spin on the child kidnapping thriller- When Kimberly Leamy, a photographer living in Melbourne, Australia is approached by a total stranger claiming she is Sammy Went, the toddler who disappeared twenty-six years ago in Manson, Kentucky, she is highly skeptical. However, she still feels compelled to look through a few old family photos, where, to her dismay, she discovers her baby pictures bear a striking resemblance to Sammy Went. She is then shocked by her stepfather, Dean’s admission that Kim’s mother had secrets she took her grave, secrets he swore never to reveal. Needing to discover the truth, Kim travels to Kentucky to meet with the family of Sammy Went, where one stunning revelation, or event, after another, leaves her head spinning. Is she really Sammy? Who was the woman who raised her and why did she kidnap Sammy? As Kim searches for answers about her true identity, she stirs up a den of snakes- quite literally- As I have stated many times, the missing child ‘trope’ is one that has been written many times over, but for some reason, it is always a theme I find absorbing and compelling. I try to imagine what it must be like to live one’s life in that type of limbo, never knowing for sure what happened to your child. In some novels, centered around kidnappings, a person will come forward claiming they are a long- lost kidnap victim, and sometimes the victim is found years and years later, living under an assumed identity. However, the story usually ends on what is presumed to be a happy ending, with the family reunited and finally receiving long overdue closure. However, in this case, the story is centered around Kim, the alleged victim, as she copes with the shock of discovering her entire life, up to this point has been a lie. She has another family, in another country. Not only that, Sammy’s disappearance revealed a few shocking family secrets, changing the dynamics of the Went family forever. While all of this sounds like a heavy family drama, there is a strong undercurrent of suspense, as the specifics of Sammy’s disappearance remain shadowy, with several viable suspects still at large. It would seem everyone involved has a secret, or a hidden resentment. or are under the influence of a strange religious order, one which practices dangerous rituals, including snake handling. It is impossible for Kim/ Sammy to let her guard down, to trust anyone, until the bitter end, when the shocking truth is finally revealed. Once more the kidnapped child theme held me captive, unable to wrap my head around Sammy’s family dynamic, marveling at Kim’s ability to absorb the unreal circumstances and revelations thrown at her at breakneck speed. The author did a great job of building the suspense at just the right pace and keeping the reader off balance. This is a unique story, featuring quirky, eccentric characters, and a few truly shivery moments that may make some readers uncomfortable, especially if you have a thing about snakes. I had a few mixed feelings about the way things wrapped up, but overall, I found this to be a very satisfying thriller!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... WHO TOOK SAMMY WENT? The Nowhere Child opens in the present in Melbourne, Australia. Kimberly (Kim) Leamy is eating lunch in the cafeteria of the school where she teaches photography. A man approaches her and introduces himself. His name is James Finn and he asks if her name is Kimberly Leamy. She asks him if hes a teacher or a student at the school. He tells her hes not from the school and proceeds to pull a photo out of a My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... WHO TOOK SAMMY WENT? “The Nowhere Child” opens in the present in Melbourne, Australia. Kimberly (Kim) Leamy is eating lunch in the cafeteria of the school where she teaches photography. A man approaches her and introduces himself. His name is James Finn and he asks if her name is Kimberly Leamy. She asks him if he’s a teacher or a student at the school. He tells her he’s not from the school and proceeds to pull a photo out of a folder. It’s a picture of a young girl sitting in the grass. He asks her if the girl looks familiar. At first glance, Kim doesn’t think so, but when she looks at the photo a second time....she thinks the girl does look a little familiar. James tells her that the girl’s name is Sammy Went; a two-year-old who went missing twenty-six years earlier from her home in Manson, Kentucky. The photo was taken on Sammy’s second birthday. Three days later… Sammy was gone. There were no witnesses to Sammy’s disappearance, there was no evidence, and no one called for ransom. Sammy simply disappeared. Kim wonders what this man wants from her. James explains that he was close to the Went family and he believes Kim is connected to the Sammy Went case. Kim asks him if he thinks that SHE kidnapped Sammy. He tells her she is misunderstanding him… “This little girl disappeared on April 3rd, 1990. She’s been missing for twenty-eight years. I don’t think you kidnapped Sammy Went I think you are Sammy Went” Kim is a bit shook up by the conversation she had with the American man. However, she knows her mother would never have had anything to do with the abduction of a little girl. But she finds that she can’t dismiss everything the man said and so she starts researching the case. She finds articles about Sammy Went's disappearance. She comes across a picture of Sammy’s parents, Molly and Jack. If she’s honest with herself she does see some resemblance between herself and Sammy’s parents. It seems impossible, but Kim has to admit there is a part of her that wonders… Kim decides to travel to Kentucky to see if she can get answers to the questions that have been plaguing her. But not everyone is happy that Kim is asking questions. Many people want her to leave it alone. Will Kim find the answers she's looking for? “The Nowhere Child” was a compelling read that had my mind spinning as I tried to guess what happened. The story starts off strong. From Melbourne, Australia in the present to Manson, Kentucky in the past, we learn what happened to Sammy Went from a variety of characters with dark secrets. Back and forth the chapters alternate right up until the satisfying conclusion. This was a unique and complex story with twists that I never saw coming. An impressive debut novel that tells a tale of family secrets, kidnapping, and religious conspiracies. I look forward to reading more from Christian White. I'd like to thank Minotaur Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey

    A fabulous debut thriller by Christian White. Kim has been enjoying her relatively normal life in Australia. Sitting alone in a coffee shop, a man approaches her. He shows her a photograph of his sister Sammy, who went missing over 20 years ago in Kentucky. He insists Kim is that sister! How would you react if a complete stranger walked up to you out of the blue and tried to convince you that you were their long lost sibling? Would you even listen? Or run full-speed the other way? Now shes made the A fabulous debut thriller by Christian White. Kim has been enjoying her relatively normal life in Australia. Sitting alone in a coffee shop, a man approaches her. He shows her a photograph of his sister Sammy, who went missing over 20 years ago in Kentucky. He insists Kim is that sister! How would you react if a complete stranger walked up to you out of the blue and tried to convince you that you were their long lost sibling? Would you even listen? Or run full-speed the other way? Now she’s made the journey back to Kentucky on her own quest for the truth. And the prospect of facing her newly-found potential birth family. She expected some surprising revelations. But Kim didn’t expect her 'new sister' to immediately call the media and turn the reunion into a circus. Or discover that her 'birth mother' belongs to a church that uses snakes in their prayer ceremonies! Be prepared, there’s a lot of snake talk!🐍 But is this her real family? Or one huge mistake? It’s always so exciting to find a new author to enjoy! A fantastic exciting read from start to finish. I will most definitely be watching for more of Mr. White's books in the future! A buddy read with Susanne that left us reminiscing about my own encounter with an uninvited snake on vacation... Me: Standing on the sofa screaming for my husband! Texting furiously to Susanne and Brenda! Susanne & Brenda: doing their best to keep me calm, googling how to remove the snake safely. Husband: taking a leisurely stroll around the mountain-side! Unaware of the drama going on inside the cabin!🙄 Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Christian White for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Christian White's debut has won the Victorian Premier Literary Award, given that Jane Harper's The Dry had won it previously, it sparked my interest in this book. This is a dark and intricately pieced together compelling psychological thriller set in Australia and the USA. In 1990 in Manson, Kentucky, Jack and Molly Went's family are devastated when their 2 year old toddler daughter, Sammy, disappears. The family limps along with their loss with Molly sustained by her religious faith through the Christian White's debut has won the Victorian Premier Literary Award, given that Jane Harper's The Dry had won it previously, it sparked my interest in this book. This is a dark and intricately pieced together compelling psychological thriller set in Australia and the USA. In 1990 in Manson, Kentucky, Jack and Molly Went's family are devastated when their 2 year old toddler daughter, Sammy, disappears. The family limps along with their loss with Molly sustained by her religious faith through the bizarre Church of the Light Within, a fundamentalist Pentecostal group with some deadly practices that include snakes, but the Wents go on to splinter apart. More than twenty years later in Melbourne, Kimberly Leahy is a photographer. An American stranger, Stuart, an accountant, imparts some startling news in one of her classes. He claims that she is that missing child, Sammy, kidnapped from Kentucky all those years ago. As you can probably imagine this has Kimberly in a total spin, completely shattered,her social worker mother died of cancer four years previously, so she is unable to ask her. Her stepfather Dean appears to know something when her sister, Amy drops the bombshell on him. DNA evidence confirms that she is Sammy, but how in heaven's name did she end up in Australia? Despite her closeness to her family, she has to know what happened as she sets out to revisit the past as she goes to Manson, Kentucky. The narrative goes back and forth in time as the past is unpeeled with revelations that include loss, betrayal, identity, a cult, people who cannot be relied on and secrets. This is a harrowing story of twists, menace, suspense and tension, and a totally unexpected ending. I found this a gripping family drama, well plotted, a tale that is chilling but never less than a engrossing and entertaining debut with a great sense of both locations, despite them being so different. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kylie D

    What would you do if you find out the life you've been leading is a lie? What would you do if your entire existence as you know it is false? This is the situation Melbourne photographer Kim Leamey faces when a stranger turns up one night at a class she is teaching and tells her he thinks she is Sammy Went, a toddler who went missing in small town Kentucky 28 years previously. At first Kim brushes it off, but then when delving deeper into the subject she finds her stepfather Dean definitely knows What would you do if you find out the life you've been leading is a lie? What would you do if your entire existence as you know it is false? This is the situation Melbourne photographer Kim Leamey faces when a stranger turns up one night at a class she is teaching and tells her he thinks she is Sammy Went, a toddler who went missing in small town Kentucky 28 years previously. At first Kim brushes it off, but then when delving deeper into the subject she finds her stepfather Dean definitely knows something he's not telling her. So Kim finds herself in Manson, Kentucky, searching for clues as to who she really is and what might have happened to Sammy all those years ago. As the story slowly unfolds it seems everyone is hiding something, and in a small minded town like Manson, some of those secrets prove to be explosive. This is a powerful debut novel by Aussie author Christian White. The narrative alternates between the present and the past seamlessly, and you quickly find yourself drawn in to the mystery of Sammy. There are a few questions that go unanswered, and this brought it down to 4 stars for me, however this is one that will keep you up reading until the small hours. Recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    I started reading The Nowhere Child on 11/22/2018 and finished it on 11/28/2018. This thriller is a fantastic read! I love how each chapter ends with a bang! Its the mini cliffhanger of each chapter that got me reading nonstop. I love both past and present point of views. I love the police force. Ellis is such a down to earth guy and his search for love is sweet. This thriller has some moments that cracks me up. I love those sayings, The Light Within are tighter than a ducks asshole and some I started reading The Nowhere Child on 11/22/2018 and finished it on 11/28/2018. This thriller is a fantastic read! I love how each chapter ends with a bang! It’s the mini cliffhanger of each chapter that got me reading nonstop. I love both past and present point of views. I love the police force. Ellis is such a down to earth guy and his search for love is sweet. This thriller has some moments that cracks me up. I love those sayings, “The Light Within are tighter than a duck’s asshole” and some other ones I forgot to keep track and it’s now taking forever to find. I will add more here on my second read of this book! This book is told in the first person point of view following Kimberly (Kim) Leamy, a photography teacher at Northampton Community. The story is split between now and then. Kim’s view is the now. This book begins with a stranger, James Finn who comes to Melbourne, Australia from America to inform Kimberly of a kidnapping that occurred nearly 30 years ago. The story then switch gears and told in the third person point of view following Jack and Emma, then, beginning before Sammy Went, 2, goes missing. Jack is Sammy’s dad and Emma, 13 is Sammy’s oldest sister. Sammy also has a brother, Stu who is 8. Another view is of the city’s sheriff Ellis and Travis, a neighbor. When the stranger tells Kim that the missing girl is in fact her, she begins to slowly unravel the best kept family secret. The Nowhere Child is very well written and a compelling read. Both main characters and supporting characters are excellent. The rattlesnakes brought into the story is interesting. I love the twists and turns and unexpected storyline. Many actions I didn’t see coming. I like the mention of exorcism because I have heard them on the news before. I enjoy the diversity in this book. This thriller is a fast paced excellent read and I highly recommend everyone to read it. Pro: fast paced, page turner, mystery, mini cliffhangers, family secret, diversity, humor Con: none I rate it 5 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details

  7. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

    There are seven books listed on Goodreads with the name The Nowhere Child or something very close to it. I suspect there are 100's, if not 1000's, of other books with the same plot. An adult finds out that the parents that raised them are indeed not their parents and their entire life has been based on a lie. Been there, done that, right? Well, I can assure you that you've never read it done as well as this debut effort by Christian White. While I read lots of books that grab my attention and I There are seven books listed on Goodreads with the name The Nowhere Child or something very close to it. I suspect there are 100's, if not 1000's, of other books with the same plot. An adult finds out that the parents that raised them are indeed not their parents and their entire life has been based on a lie. Been there, done that, right? Well, I can assure you that you've never read it done as well as this debut effort by Christian White. While I read lots of books that grab my attention and I find nearly impossible to put down, it is only on extremely rare occasions that a book snatches me up by the shirt collar demanding my attention until the turn of the final page. I found myself up until after sunrise completely absorbed in this story, heavy eyes, nodding head and all. The Nowhere Child offers up a varied cast of characters that are so damaged and flawed and, for lack of a better word, human. Each given breath by Christian White's incredibly engaging writing style. Never once did this story stall, continuously moving with purpose towards what you know will be a tragic truth. If I could offer some unsolicited advice to the author and publisher it would be to change the title and the cover of this book. I almost passed on it because of these reasons and in doing so I would have missed out on what is sure to be one of my more memorable reading experiences this year. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    3.25 stars* (rounded down) Kim gets the surprise of her life one day when a man approaches and shows her a picture of a 2 year old girl who went missing 26 years ago. The girls name is Sammy Went and he thinks Kim is that girl. Kim has lived her whole life in Melbourne and has always been very close to her family. Stuart is from a small town in Manson, Kentucky and he has been searching for Sammy for a long time. Everyone else had given up on her but Stuart has had his reasons for searching for 3.25 stars* (rounded down) Kim gets the surprise of her life one day when a man approaches and shows her a picture of a 2 year old girl who went missing 26 years ago. The girl’s name is Sammy Went and he thinks Kim is that girl. Kim has lived her whole life in Melbourne and has always been very close to her family. Stuart is from a small town in Manson, Kentucky and he has been searching for Sammy for a long time. Everyone else had given up on her but Stuart has had his reasons for searching for Sammy. When he finds her, he gets what he thinks is indisputable proof that she is his sister and he convinces Kim to make the trip to his hometown. What Kim finds upon meeting the Wents is not what she imagined. Some moments are heartwarming, some are heart stopping. Told in two timelines: the past and the present, “The Nowhere Child” is a novel that I had to ease into. I found parts of the book to be far fetched and unnecessary and parts of it to be engrossing and really well written. One however really freaked me out: Snakes? How about no thank you! This was a buddy read with Kaceey. So glad we read this one together! Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books and Christian White for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Published on Goodreads and NetGalley on 12.21.18.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    I was excited to read this debut novel by Christian White. It was the winner of the Victorian Premiers Literary Award and the premise intrigued me. The Dry by Jane Harper won this award in 2016. Kimberley Leamy is living her life in Australia when an American named Stuart contacts her with some outrageous allegations. He tells her that she is the victim of a kidnapping that took place 26 years ago in Kentucky. He tells her she isn't who she thinks she is. He claims that she is Sammy Went. I can't I was excited to read this debut novel by Christian White. It was the winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the premise intrigued me. The Dry by Jane Harper won this award in 2016. Kimberley Leamy is living her life in Australia when an American named Stuart contacts her with some outrageous allegations. He tells her that she is the victim of a kidnapping that took place 26 years ago in Kentucky. He tells her she isn't who she thinks she is. He claims that she is Sammy Went. I can't even imagine how upsetting such news would be. I've seen a few "real" cases of this type of child abduction where victims have had their real life stolen. I was really interested in her character and my curiosity was peaked as the story explored her own investigation of her life. I enjoyed the Then and Now prospectives and learning the backstory to what really happened to Kimberley in the early years. The setting of Australia and Kentucky worked well and added an extra layer to the mystery. There are quite a few themes woven into the story that makes it stand out from your usual crime novel. The cult aspect was one that I found fascinating. There is more telling than showing, but the story is compelling. A unique novel with some tension and quite a bit of creepiness!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    I've done pretty darn well not requesting psychological thrillers, and can't say I'm much missing them. This is one I had before I made this decision. A two year old child is taken, a young woman now in her twenties is found by her possible brother and told she might be the child. A church, a cult? A leader with strange ideas that he seems to exert at will over his followers and snakes, Rattlers to be specific and I find snakes cringeworthy, and this religion has many. Ended up liking this more I've done pretty darn well not requesting psychological thrillers, and can't say I'm much missing them. This is one I had before I made this decision. A two year old child is taken, a young woman now in her twenties is found by her possible brother and told she might be the child. A church, a cult? A leader with strange ideas that he seems to exert at will over his followers and snakes, Rattlers to be specific and I find snakes cringeworthy, and this religion has many. Ended up liking this more than I thought I would when I began reading. It started out rather weakly, but thankfully both the plot became more interesting and the writing stronger. So many themes in this book, which was part of the problem with my perception of what was happening. All these different threads, all in one family, one town, one book? Stretches credibility. The pace after the initial slowness at the start picks up, and by books end, again my opinion, too many things are thrown into the mix. Though if you like a faster paced thriller, with a few likable characters, this one will do. ARC from Netgalley.

  11. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    4.5★ You know what I see when I think about the past? he said. A deep, vast ocean. Memories are the fish, I suppose. When Im wading in the shallows I can reach in and pull one out if I want to. I can hold the memory in my hands. . . But the deeper you go, the darker the water becomes. . . Those fish belong out there, in the deep part. Theyre sharks, Kimmy. Sharks and monsters. This debut won the Victorian (Australia) Premiers Award for an unpublished manuscript, and I can certainly see why. Its a 4.5★ “‘You know what I see when I think about the past?’ he said. ‘A deep, vast ocean. Memories are the fish, I suppose. When I’m wading in the shallows I can reach in and pull one out if I want to. I can hold the memory in my hands. . . ‘But the deeper you go, the darker the water becomes. . . Those fish belong out there, in the deep part. They’re … sharks, Kimmy. Sharks and monsters.’” This debut won the Victorian (Australia) Premier’s Award for an unpublished manuscript, and I can certainly see why. It’s a great read! I read a preview copy that still had some typos and glitches, so I can’t be certain the quotations I’ve chosen made it to the final copy, but I hope so (because I liked them). The book blurb explains that Aussie Kim is told by a young American accountant that she is really his long-lost sister, Sammy Went, who disappeared from their American family 30 years ago. She can’t believe it (well, would you?) and she can’t imagine her mother doing such a thing. Mum died a few years ago, and she is hesitant to raise the question with her still-grieving stepdad, Dean. But the “brother” says he has DNA proof. So she confides in her half-sister, Amy, who is distraught at the idea, because the girls are very close. Amy tactlessly drops Sammy Went's name in front of Dean, and he nearly collapses. Kim is stunned. “I froze when I noticed Dean’s face, tight and pale. He was squeezing the hell out of his napkin, so hard his knuckles had turned white. I was hit with a jarring clarity: He knows. He had heard the name before. Maybe not for a while, maybe not for years, but all that time he had been waiting to hear it again. She told him. She told him and she didn’t tell me.” That is when Dean compares memories to fish, which I quoted here at the beginning. Kim and Amy are very close and both adore Dean, so Kim feels guilty about leaving them, but there’s no way she can let this go unresolved. The story follows her to the U.S. and chapters alternate between THEN and NOW, which many books seem to do these days. I have to say, White has done it better than most. I found it very clear and easy to follow – I just wanted to find out what happened! It is not a simple who-dunnit, as there is a relatively complex group of characters in the American story – the usual family, neighbours, school friends, of course. But then there’s a church-sect-cult called The Light Within to which Sammy Went’s mother belonged. Their claim to fame is that they walk around barefoot and play with rattlesnakes and copperheads and everything poisonous – and I mean play. Weird stuff! When Sammy first disappeared, one of the young men searching noitices that the flyer being handed out about her has the Copy Hut logo on it. Never miss a chance to advertise! “And while he was being cynical, the idea of handing out photos of Sammy to search volunteers seemed morbidly redundant. Was there more than one missing child out there? He imagined one of the volunteers moving aside a fallen tree branch to find a shivering, scared little girl underneath. The volunteer might then hold up the Copy Hut photo of Sammy, compare it to the little girl on the forest floor and call out, False alarm, this one’s not her.” When Kim goes to Sammy’s home, she tries to find things that might trigger a memory or two. But as the brother explains, there is something called Decay Theory, where when you haven’t retrieved a memory for a very long time, the slender thread that you use to pull it to the surface may have decayed. She goes into the woods near Sammy’s house where the search took place, and it feels foreign. She was a child who loved the Australian bush. “This place wasn’t the bush; it was the forest. Forests were dangerous places from fairytales, where children were abandoned by their parents and captured by witches.” Of course, the Australian bush has poisonous everything, too, but the rattlers and such in this remind me more of Indiana Jones’s encounter with snakes than with anything I’ve run across (and I have) in the great Aussie outdoors. I will leave you with that cheery thought. A great debut and the first of many books, I hope! Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia – Affirm Press for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted (so quotes may have changed – but you’ll get the idea of how he writes).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    A compelling thriller full of twists and turns, secrets and lies, and snakes!🐍 what would you do if you found out you werent who you thought you were your entire life? How would you react if you found out you werent Kim Australian photography teacher, but Sammy Kentuckian kidnap victim? This book starts with a BANG and maintains its intensity until the very end... A brilliantly crafted perfectly paced debut... BRAVO Christian White! Kim is leading a relatively uneventful life in Australia.... A compelling thriller full of twists and turns, secrets and lies, and snakes!🐍 what would you do if you found out you weren’t who you thought you were your entire life? How would you react if you found out you weren’t Kim Australian photography teacher, but Sammy Kentuckian kidnap victim? This book starts with a BANG and maintains it’s intensity until the very end... A brilliantly crafted perfectly paced debut... BRAVO Christian White! Kim is leading a relatively uneventful life in Australia.... she has a job she enjoys, a sister who loves her, and she is beginning to get it together after losing her mother to cancer.... then one day a strange American shows up with a picture... a picture of a two-year-old girl who he insists is her.... a two-year-old Sammy Who was kidnapped over 20 years ago from a small town in Kentucky, a two-year-old Sammy who happens to be the sister of the strange American Stew.... after a DNA test and confronting her stepfather, Kim decides to head to America to meet her birth family and to figure out how in the world she ended up in Australia? Kim was expecting some culture shock, but she could not begin to imagine how much culture shock she would be in for.... The book seamlessly weaves the past and present storylines together... it was truly fascinating watching Kim navigate her way through small town Kentucky, meeting her birth family, including her mother who is a snake handler in the Pentecostal church.... The past story was equally intriguing... learning about the family at the time of Sammy‘s disappearance, and trying to figure out the how and the who of it all.... as the layers of both past and present were peeled away the creepier and more intricate the deception got.... and the snakes, oh boy those creepy slithery slimy snakes! Yikes! There are parts of this book that still give me the heebie-jeebies! An intense story that will satisfy your psychological thriller craving! A trope you may have read before, but with a shiny new unique brilliant twist! This is a thriller not to be missed! Absolutely recommend! 🎧🎧🎧 The narrator of this audiobook was Katherine Littrell and I have only two words for you... AUSTRALIAN ACCENT! She did a really good job, even her American male accents were well done... and I appreciated the fact that she did not even attempt to do a southern accent, sometimes that accent can be a bit over exaggerated... as always the audio narration breathed even more life into this already highly entertaining story, a definite must listen! 🎵🎵🎵 song running through my head... Australia makes me think of this song and having that Australian accent in my ear throughout this book really made me think of this song! ”Traveling in a fried-out combie On a hippie trail, head full of zombie I met a strange lady, she made me nervous She took me in and gave me breakfast And she said Do you come from a land down under? Where women glow and men plunder? Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? You better run, you better take cover Buying bread from a man in Brussels He was six-foot-four and full of muscles I said, "do you speak-a my language?" He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich And he said I come from a land down under Where beer does flow and men chunder Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? You better run, you better take cover, yeah” - Men at Work 1981 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hfmxO-H... *** The other song I was contemplating was “Union of the Snake” by Duran Duran, I’m such an 80s girl! *** A huge thank you to Macmillan Audio/Minotaur Books for my copies of this book ***

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I can't believe this is Christian White's First novel an outstanding debut & will be looking forward to his next offering the pace was quick the author threw in a few red herrings & a twist you wouldnt or couldnt get my head around. The characters were twisted, flawed generally unlikable except for kim loved her character she was strong forthcoming & very engagingreally loved this book. I felt anger towards the Eckles family they wereall damaged goods didnt like them at all. Kim Leamy I can't believe this is Christian White's First novel an outstanding debut & will be looking forward to his next offering the pace was quick the author threw in a few red herrings & a twist you wouldnt or couldnt get my head around. The characters were twisted, flawed generally unlikable except for kim loved her character she was strong forthcoming & very engagingreally loved this book. I felt anger towards the Eckles family they wereall damaged goods didnt like them at all. Kim Leamy who lived in Melbourne & taught photography 3 nights a week is approached by a stranger in a coffee shop telling her that she could be a missing sister!! How would you feel let alone react to such news? She decides to go back to Kentucky & find out the truth, what she does find could change her forever, her sister Amy jumps in & calls in the press and all hell breaks loose. Its so good to find an author who takes a missing girl prose & puts a whole new spin on it was really fabulous to read & the twist did my head in big time, believe the hype on Christian White he is so damn good.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Super creepy (with snakes?!) and original! Kimberly is a photography teacher living in Australia when she is contacted by an American who believes that over twenty years ago, Kimberly was a toddler who was kidnapped from Kentucky. Kimberly cannot fathom that her mother who passed away a few years ago could be responsible for kidnapping her. Jack and Molly Went are the parents to a toddler, and two other children when their youngest is taken from their home. They were already having marriage Super creepy (with snakes?!) and original! Kimberly is a photography teacher living in Australia when she is contacted by an American who believes that over twenty years ago, Kimberly was a toddler who was kidnapped from Kentucky. Kimberly cannot fathom that her mother who passed away a few years ago could be responsible for kidnapping her. Jack and Molly Went are the parents to a toddler, and two other children when their youngest is taken from their home. They were already having marriage difficulties and when their toddler, Sammy, disappears, they grow further apart. Eventually, Kim is given proof that she and Sammy are the same person, she travels to Kentucky to visit the family she has never known. She also wants to find out how she was abducted. The Pentecostal church provides support to Molly as she grieves the loss of Sammy, and it also may be at the center of mystery of what happened to her. The Nowhere Child is exciting, original, and hooked me right from the start. There are twists and turns, and I loved the vivid sense of both settings- Australia and Kentucky. The cult aspects enthralled me with their super creepiness. Well-done, fresh, and engaging, just how I like my suspense stories. Thanks to Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Two-year-old Sammy Went lived with her mother and father, sister Emma and brother Stuart three days after her second birthday, Sammy vanished. Even with the dedicated search which went for weeks; the police called from areas surrounding the small town of Manson, Kentucky; Sammy was never seen again the case was never solved. Twenty-eight years later, in Melbourne, Australia, Kim Leamy was enjoying a break from her classes when a stranger approached her. In that instant Kims life changed and Two-year-old Sammy Went lived with her mother and father, sister Emma and brother Stuart – three days after her second birthday, Sammy vanished. Even with the dedicated search which went for weeks; the police called from areas surrounding the small town of Manson, Kentucky; Sammy was never seen again – the case was never solved. Twenty-eight years later, in Melbourne, Australia, Kim Leamy was enjoying a break from her classes when a stranger approached her. In that instant Kim’s life changed and everything she’d believed about herself and her family were shattered. Questions she asked of her step-father couldn’t be answered to Kim’s satisfaction; her mother had passed away four years previously, so Kim couldn’t ask her anything. So Kim decided on the only thing she could think of – she boarded a plane for the United States, and Manson in Kentucky, hoping for answers. But the past was a dark place with many secrets. Perhaps it would be better if Kim went back to Australia – forgot the last few weeks? But she couldn’t. Kim knew there was something; she knew she needed to know to be able to find a measure of peace once again… Well wow! I didn’t see THAT twist coming!!! The Nowhere Child is Aussie author Christian White’s debut novel and absolutely ticks all the boxes of a psychological thriller! With its chapters alternating between "then" and "now", The Nowhere Child is littered with a cult, evil, innocence and a harrowing loss. Well-written characters and an intriguing plot make this exceptional read one I highly recommend – and I’ll be looking out for White’s next novel. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read and review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

    Wow this was quite the debut! The Nowhere Child is an exciting, addicting, and unique psychological thriller. Christian White sure knows how to pull his readers in with one heck of a ride! The author beautifully intertwines the two stories of past/present alternating between the US and Melbourne so delicately but with such a fine crisp of edginess and thrill that will leave you turning those pages! The story explores the mysterious disappearance of a two year old little girl Sammy Went. Kimberly Wow this was quite the debut! The Nowhere Child is an exciting, addicting, and unique psychological thriller. Christian White sure knows how to pull his readers in with one heck of a ride! The author beautifully intertwines the two stories of past/present alternating between the US and Melbourne so delicately but with such a fine crisp of edginess and thrill that will leave you turning those pages! The story explores the mysterious disappearance of a two year old little girl Sammy Went. Kimberly Leary is a photographer who lives in Melbourne Australia with her family. One day Stuart Went shows up in her photography class convinced that Kimberly is his long lost sister Sammy Went that disappeared when she was a toddler. Kimberly is clearly caught off guard but agrees to take a DNA test to rule herself out from this possibility. But, little does she know that her DNA is a match and Sammy Went and Kimberly Leary are the same person. The book literally takes off from there!! Talk about unreliable characters, a cult, snakes, and creepiness to a tee! What more could you ask for in a thriller?! I really enjoyed this one and highly recommend! 4 stars for The Nowhere Child! Huge thank you to Minotaur/St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for my honest review. Published to GR: 12/13/18 Publication date: 1/22/19

  17. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    At last I got around to reading this one. Everyone has been telling me it is good and they are all right. Especially for a debut novel it is very good indeed. The plot line is gripping right from the start. It's not every day someone finds out they are not who they think they are. I enjoyed most of the characters although a few of them went a little bit over the top especially in the church. If the book is ever made into a movie that will be an amazing scene! I thought the whole book was well At last I got around to reading this one. Everyone has been telling me it is good and they are all right. Especially for a debut novel it is very good indeed. The plot line is gripping right from the start. It's not every day someone finds out they are not who they think they are. I enjoyed most of the characters although a few of them went a little bit over the top especially in the church. If the book is ever made into a movie that will be an amazing scene! I thought the whole book was well written and the alternating chapters between the past and the present worked well. There was a convincing twist regarding the guilty party and a realistic ending (that means not a fairy tale, everyone lives happily ever after, one). However I did not accept that Dean(view spoiler)[ would present himself in his home town like that where it was obvious he would be recognised. Did I miss something and he actually wanted to get caught? (hide spoiler)] Anyway, I loved the book and recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery

  18. 4 out of 5

    Li'l Owl

    A sensational, terrifying psychological thriller! A stunning debut!! He stared at me with a pinched, curious expression. 'I'm here because I believe you're... connected to all this.' 'Connected to the abduction of a two-year-old girl?' I laughed. 'Don't tell me you came all the way from the States to accuse me of kidnap?' 'You misunderstand,' he said. 'This little girl disappeared on April 3rd, 1990. She's been missing for twenty-eight years. I don't think you kidnapped Sammy Went. I think you are A sensational, terrifying psychological thriller! A stunning debut!! He stared at me with a pinched, curious expression. 'I'm here because I believe you're... connected to all this.' 'Connected to the abduction of a two-year-old girl?' I laughed. 'Don't tell me you came all the way from the States to accuse me of kidnap?' 'You misunderstand,' he said. 'This little girl disappeared on April 3rd, 1990. She's been missing for twenty-eight years. I don't think you kidnapped Sammy Went. I think you are Sammy Went.' ****** The Nowhere Child by Christian White is an exciting, terrifying psychological thriller! It caught my attention right from the start and had me quickly turning the pages non stop all the way to the shocking conclusion!  Following a surprise visit from a man with a seemingly absurd possibility, Kim's world begins to crumble. As the pieces of what happened twenty-years ago start falling into place, the pace of the thrill kicks into a higher gear and I couldn't read the words on the pages fast enough!! As the conclusion to the story approaches, the terrifying events had my adrenaline flowing full force! Still, despite my shaking hands and shallow breathing, I continued on. What happened next left me completely stunned! If this is what Christian White turns out in his debut novel, I can't wait to see what he has in store for us next! ****** Warning! If you have Ophidiophobia, a fear of snakes.... DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Kimberly Leamy (Kim) was between classes at Northampton Community TAFE where she taught photography when she was approached by a man named James Finn. James showed Kim a photo of a young girl and asked her did the girl look familiar to her. As Kim studied the picture, James proceeded to tell her the girl in the photo was Sammy Went who went missing three days after the photo was taken, she was only two years old at the time. Kim had no idea her life was about to turn upside down after shed Kimberly Leamy (Kim) was between classes at Northampton Community TAFE where she taught photography when she was approached by a man named James Finn. James showed Kim a photo of a young girl and asked her did the girl look familiar to her. As Kim studied the picture, James proceeded to tell her the girl in the photo was Sammy Went who went missing three days after the photo was taken, she was only two years old at the time. Kim had no idea her life was about to turn upside down after she’d talked to James. She had so many questions and she was unsure of where to start to find the answers. Her mind was reeling with so many thoughts running through it and none of it was making much sense. The Nowhere Child by Aussie author Christian White was one hell of a book, particularly seeing as it’s a debut novel. I love it when a book grabs my attention right from the start and that’s precisely what this book did and held my attention to the very last page. Oh, and how about that twist that I’m certain most readers didn’t see coming. A brilliant psychological thriller that I thoroughly loved. Highly recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com 4.5 stars The Nowhere Child, the debut novel written by new Australian writer Christian White, appeared to be the perfect choice to help me fulfil my book bingo 2018 challenge with the square, a prize winning book. In 2017, The Nowhere Child (with the working title Decay Theory) collected the coveted Victorian Premiers Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. This is good news for author Christian White, who has since gained a publishing deal and will *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com 4.5 stars The Nowhere Child, the debut novel written by new Australian writer Christian White, appeared to be the perfect choice to help me fulfil my book bingo 2018 challenge with the square, ‘a prize winning book’. In 2017, The Nowhere Child (with the working title Decay Theory) collected the coveted Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. This is good news for author Christian White, who has since gained a publishing deal and will see his book published in 15 other countries. It is what every new author dreams of and I can see why success has come to Christian White, his first novel is pretty amazing. ‘Who took Sammy Went?’ is the addictive tagline of The Nowhere Child. The Nowhere Child introduces the character of Kim Leamy, an ordinary woman from Melbourne, who spends her time teaching photography classes. One day Kim’s world is rocked by the revelation of a stranger who comes into her life. This stranger has come all the way to Melbourne, from Kentucky in the US. He is convinced that Kim is actually Sammy Went, a little girl who was tragically taken from her home based in Manson, Kentucky, over twenty eight years ago and has not been seen since. The concept seems utterly unfathomable to Kim to begin with, then, as Kim starts to delve into her own family history in Australia, cracks begin to show. Kim feels compelled to seek the truth to her background and decides to make the trek to the other side of the world, to Kentucky. In the small town of Manson, Kim begins to excavate Sammy’s dark past and in the process, some very surprising secrets are revealed. Christian White’s addictive first novel ties together a complex family drama with religion, old wounds, collusion and recollection. Christian White proves that yes he is new on the writer’s block, but he should not be overlooked. I do anticipate great things ahead for this fresh new talent. The Nowhere Child is an original novel that takes a standard kidnapping story somewhere else. This book quite literally blew me away! Unexpected is the best singular word I can use to describe this compelling new title. What initially presents itself as kidnapping crime mystery novel morphs into something much, much more. I was absorbed in Kim come Sammy’s journey from the very start of this novel, until the closing moments. White has the skills to draw you into his novel and I enjoyed the wild ride. I liked the structure of The Nowhere Child, it alternates between the present day and almost thirty years ago. It is a clever way to draw readers in. It also worked well to heighten the creepy mystery element of the book. White is skilled in recreating his two different settings for his readership. In The Nowhere Child, we are presented with two vastly different locales in which the action of the novel is based. White takes his time to illuminate present day Melbourne, along with an assured setting description of Manson, Kentucky. Both these locations seem to bounce off each other in just the right way, so what remains is a highly evocative composition of place. I felt like I was situated in the here and now at many points of this book with Kim/Sammy, as well as the other characters of this novel. The character study of Kim/Sammy was everything I would expect and more from a book of this nature. The book is centrally about Kim and her journey to discover her roots and that’s what we get, all wrapped up in a finely tuned package. Although I am slightly older than Kim, I could still place myself in her predicament and consider how I would personally respond to being placed in her situation. It was heartbreaking, perplexing and scary. White taps into our human fears and our gut instincts with this line of his novel. The periphery characters are well rendered in The Nowhere Child and there is a sense that each has a vital role to play in the overall proceedings of the novel. There were a few times in the past storyline where I was confused by who was who and what part they had to play in Sammy’s disappearance. This is a minor glitch only and may be more about my concentration level at the time of reading this novel. Now a short discussion onto the very different direction White took with this novel. The Nowhere Child represents a kidnapping tale and it is about Kim retracing her steps to uncover the clues to help her understand her past. But there is a significant direction shift in The Nowhere Child and it involves cults and organised religions. I have read a book earlier this year, another thriller based on kidnapping, that explored the role of religious organisations in the abduction of a young girl. White handled this aspect with a completely different angle, he includes some very enlightening information on a particular religious order that uses snakes as part of their practices. It was utterly terrifying, so if you have a fear of snakes in any form, be warned! However, I will say that White performs well in this aspect of his novel, it comes across as well researched and completely plausible. When we reach the end of the line with Kim/Sammy, it is hard not to reflect on what a hard road travelled this journey has been. It is a fraught path, filled with moments of confusion, earth shattering revelations, despair, betrayal and eventual semblance. The Nowhere Child was a quick read (two sittings) which I encourage crime/thriller enthusiasts to put to the top of their readings lists.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    4.5 stars! I thoroughly enjoyed this story, much more than I thought I would. The alternating of the past and present stories set in both Melbourne and the US were equally as engaging and the way the author threaded them together was quite amazing. The ending was well executed and I was literally taken by surprise. The author did a great job of moving the story forward at a decent pace to keep you wanting more. I almost forgot the author was male as he did get his female characters down pat. To 4.5 stars! I thoroughly enjoyed this story, much more than I thought I would. The alternating of the past and present stories set in both Melbourne and the US were equally as engaging and the way the author threaded them together was quite amazing. The ending was well executed and I was literally taken by surprise. The author did a great job of moving the story forward at a decent pace to keep you wanting more. I almost forgot the author was male as he did get his female characters down pat. To find out this book is Christian White’s debut is impressive and he will definitely be a name to look out for in future. Thanks to NetGalley and Hatchette Australia for my review copy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is an excellent debut novel by Christian White. He has managed to take the tale of a missing, abducted child and put a new spin on it. Thirty year old Kim Leamy is living in Melbourne, teaching photography when she is approached by an American man who tells her he thinks she is Sammy Went, abducted as a two year old child twenty eight years ago from a small town in Kentucky. At first she brushes him off, but he later comes back with evidence that makes her start questioning her own origins This is an excellent debut novel by Christian White. He has managed to take the tale of a missing, abducted child and put a new spin on it. Thirty year old Kim Leamy is living in Melbourne, teaching photography when she is approached by an American man who tells her he thinks she is Sammy Went, abducted as a two year old child twenty eight years ago from a small town in Kentucky. At first she brushes him off, but he later comes back with evidence that makes her start questioning her own origins and drives her to Kentucky to find out the truth. What she finds are some dysfunctional families and a pentecostal cult that worships with snakes. Told in two streams, Then and Now, the days following Sammy's disappearance and Kim's current investigation lead her to discover what happened to Sammy in a twist I didn't see coming. Christian White serves up a dark and menacing background to this story of a missing child and the final chapters are tense and very scary (view spoiler)[ particularly, if like me, you have a pathological fear of snakes (hide spoiler)] .

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    I can't, I simply can't, finish this book. It's the "50 Shades" of thrillers, such dumbed-down writing and unbelievable characters. I've tried it for 65 pages and it gets worse and worse. Some guy shows up out of nowhere, a total stranger --from another fricking country! -- and tells you that he's your brother, that you were kidnapped as a child and who you think are your parents are not really your parents. These good, kind, loving people you thought you knew were kidnappers! Or maybe bought I can't, I simply can't, finish this book. It's the "50 Shades" of thrillers, such dumbed-down writing and unbelievable characters. I've tried it for 65 pages and it gets worse and worse. Some guy shows up out of nowhere, a total stranger --from another fricking country! -- and tells you that he's your brother, that you were kidnapped as a child and who you think are your parents are not really your parents. These good, kind, loving people you thought you knew were kidnappers! Or maybe bought you off the black market! And instead of thinking this might be some lunatic, you take him at his word. He has PROOF after all -- he has a computer-generated photo of what the girl who went missing at age 2 might look like now and he ran facial recognition software and you were one of 9,000+ people who came up and it bears a passing resemblance to you. Yes, that's right. You look similar to a photo that may or may not look anything at all like how the child grew up to look, but yeh, you're going to believe this guy and think your whole life is a lie. This is an adult woman, a professional woman, not just some 15 year old, hating her parents and wishing they weren't really hers. She just believes this guy!? The characters in this book are so surface-level that perhaps they simply are unable to think for themselves and really would just believe this random dude showing up out of nowhere. Maybe he turns out to be a serial killer, who knows? Maybe that will be the twist in the story and there was no missing 2 year old after all. Or maybe this book is just rubbish and belongs on the abandoned shelf where I've just tossed it. Bye bye!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Annelise

    2.5 stars I was initially interested in reading The Nowhere Child because it won the Victorian Premiers Literary Award. It has a great premise that immediately made me want to know more. The concept of someone coming to you saying that you could be a missing child from another country is very creepy yet interesting.   The main character is Kim, the woman who has been told that she is really Sammy Went. I found her character to be sympathetic; however, the other characters that are introduced 2.5 stars I was initially interested in reading The Nowhere Child because it won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. It has a great premise that immediately made me want to know more. The concept of someone coming to you saying that you could be a missing child from another country is very creepy yet interesting.   The main character is Kim, the woman who has been told that she is really Sammy Went. I found her character to be sympathetic; however, the other characters that are introduced become a bit more interesting. Although this is the case, I preferred reading the novel from Kim's perspective. There were a lot of characters in the parts set in the past, which, at times, made it difficult to read. Kim was fleshed out well and I connected with her internal struggles about her family because they really made sense.  This novel is set in both Australia and the United States. This was really cool and I enjoyed reading from both locations. I could easily get a sense that each place had diverse cultures, making it obvious about where we were reading. The two different countries is a great strength that the novel has because it makes the fact that Kim was from a diverse place (Australia) more mysterious. The characters treat her like what she is, a foreigner, and this shows how out of touch she is about life in Manson.  Another aspect of the book that I thought was fascinating was the cult that is present in the small town of Manson. It provided an unsettling quality to the book, as I am sure that everyone is creeped out by cults. The cult in Manson involves snakes, and it is something that the Went family have different opinions on.  Something weak about the novel was its writing. It didn't pull me in, even though the premise was really great. I also felt like the plot twist was both unsurprising and unrealistic. I guessed it halfway through. It wasn't overly shocking and there were plenty of hints that gave it away. There was also one aspect of the big reveal that I couldn't really wrap my head around, but I guess it is possible. The readers also never quite question whether Kim is Sammy or not - we basically find out straight away.   The Nowhere Child has a unique premise, but the story is let down by its underwhelming plot twist. I would still recommend it to those who like a good mystery that include two cool settings.  Thank you to Affirm Press for the advanced reader copy that I received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    3.75 The Nowhere Child is a very clever psychological thriller. Kim is in her late 20s and lives in Australia. One day, a man shows up and tells her he thinks she went missing as a child in Kentucky, USA, in 1990. The story unfolds in two plot lines -- one focusing on Kim as an adult trying to figure out whether this is true and what happened and the other going back to the early 1990s at the time of the abduction. It's a dark story with quite a few interesting twists and turns. Some of the 3.75 The Nowhere Child is a very clever psychological thriller. Kim is in her late 20s and lives in Australia. One day, a man shows up and tells her he thinks she went missing as a child in Kentucky, USA, in 1990. The story unfolds in two plot lines -- one focusing on Kim as an adult trying to figure out whether this is true and what happened and the other going back to the early 1990s at the time of the abduction. It's a dark story with quite a few interesting twists and turns. Some of the characters and their interactions were especially strong. While also takes on some real contemporary issues -- that I won't mention for fear of giving away some spoilers. The only reason it wasn't quite a 4 star read for me was that there were a few too many sharp turns at the end that left me shaking my head. But, still, it kept me reading and I will definitely look for White's next book. One warning is warranted: you may want to stay away from this one if you're squeamish about snakes... Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

    The Nowhere Child by Christian White is a thriller with quite a few twists and turns. Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger in a coffee shop in Australia. He tells her that he thinks that she is Sammy Went a child who disappeared from her home in Kentucky over twenty years ago when she was two years old. Kim then starts to look into this to see if there could be any truth in the story. This book was told in two timelines, one chapter in the past, the next chapter in the present. I'm not a fan of The Nowhere Child by Christian White is a thriller with quite a few twists and turns. Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger in a coffee shop in Australia. He tells her that he thinks that she is Sammy Went a child who disappeared from her home in Kentucky over twenty years ago when she was two years old. Kim then starts to look into this to see if there could be any truth in the story. This book was told in two timelines, one chapter in the past, the next chapter in the present. I'm not a fan of this type of story and it did impact on my enjoyment of the book. Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    WINNER!!! EXCELLENT!!! 5 stars!!! The Nowhere Child was different from any other psychological thriller I have read in a wonderful way, I ate up every bit. I loved all the little clues dropped that kept me guessing and reassessing. I would highly reccomend The Nowhere Child and will be on the look out for anything by Christian White. Thank you Netgalley and St. Martins Press for allowing me to read this superb book in exchange for my honest review. WINNER!!! EXCELLENT!!! 5 stars!!! The Nowhere Child was different from any other psychological thriller I have read in a wonderful way, I ate up every bit. I loved all the little clues dropped that kept me guessing and reassessing. I would highly reccomend The Nowhere Child and will be on the look out for anything by Christian White. Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read this superb book in exchange for my honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    NZLisaM

    How would you react if you found out your entire life was a lie? Now Melbourne, Australia: When Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger, who claims to be her biological brother, her entire world comes crashing down. Stuart Went tells her he has irrefutable proof that she was abducted twenty-seven years ago. Then Manson, Kentucky (1990): Two year-old Sammy Went disappears from the bedroom of her home, and her family (which was pretty dysfunctional before tragedy struck) unravels even further. To How would you react if you found out your entire life was a lie? Now – Melbourne, Australia: When Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger, who claims to be her biological brother, her entire world comes crashing down. Stuart Went tells her he has irrefutable proof that she was abducted twenty-seven years ago. Then – Manson, Kentucky (1990): Two year-old Sammy Went disappears from the bedroom of her home, and her family (which was pretty dysfunctional before tragedy struck) unravels even further. To get to the bottom of who kidnapped her, and why, Kim must travel to Manson to unlock the truth of what led up to her being taken all those years ago. A gripping, shattering, and unsettling premise as Kim attempted to come to grips with the fact that her loving mother (now deceased and unable to, not only provide answers, but defend herself in the face of kidnapping allegations), her family, and her happy childhood memories are now tainted. Jeepers, this sure evoked all the feels, and I have such compassion for what Kim was faced with. I can't even imagine it! Suspenseful, fast-paced, and tense, there were more than a few curveballs thrown my way, a couple of which left me gobsmacked. But the highlight was the claustrophobic setting of Manson where secrets and lies were rife. I loved the descriptions of the town, could absolutely picture the drug store the Went family owned on Main Street, the creepy, dilapidated gristmill, and the leaning mailbox and ‘No Trespassing’ sign hanging on the fence of the Eckles property. On top of this, there's an enigmatic Pentecostal sect, who practice the religious rite of handling venomous snakes – eek! All the characters were three-dimensional, and compelling – right from Kim's intrusive Melbourne neighbour, Georgia, through to Chester Ellis, the Sherriff of Manson. And, Christian White excels at writing teenagers and children. A top-notch mystery, and psychological, character-driven thriller. Highly recommended.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    The Nowhere Child is going to be the sleeper hit of 2019, I'm calling it now. I really didn't expect Christian White's debut novel to really knock it out of the park, but it did just that, and more. Kimberly Leamy is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Her sister Amy and her are very close, but after their mother died, Kimberly started putting a distance between her and her stepdad. One day, Stuart Went arrives to her photography class, convinced that she is Sammy Wenthis little The Nowhere Child is going to be the sleeper hit of 2019, I'm calling it now. I really didn't expect Christian White's debut novel to really knock it out of the park, but it did just that, and more. Kimberly Leamy is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Her sister Amy and her are very close, but after their mother died, Kimberly started putting a distance between her and her stepdad. One day, Stuart Went arrives to her photography class, convinced that she is Sammy Went—his little sister that disappeared when she was just a toddler. Sammy Went was taken from her parents in rural Kentucky, in a small town called Manson. (the cult vibes from the town alone are not lost on me, folks) After taking a DNA sample, it is confirmed that Kimberly Leamy and Sammy Went are the same person. Kim decides to find out more about her biological family and decides to take a trip to the United States and meet them. When Kim arrives to her hometown, she sees that the town is overrun by this fundamentalist group called The Church of the Light Within. The deadly practices by this religious cult have stolen the lives of the townsfolk of Manson, and even some of Kim's own biological family members. Did someone kidnap her to save her from this life of a suffering? Kim has no idea why she was taken by her (now deceased) mother, but she is starting to see a toxic relationship this town has with the church. When Kim returns back home, she quickly finds out that not everybody is excited to see her back. I did not expect to enjoy The Nowhere Child as much as I did. In this debut, we get a strong family drama, and much more. We get a backstory of a cult that is so devious, I really had to question my faith at times. The only reason why I did not bump this story to five full stars, is because there's a secondary storyline that is told—AND I WANTED MORE. I won't spoil that storyline, but when you read the book, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Ugh, I want more! I devoured The Nowhere Child in one sitting this Thanksgiving holiday, and I'm so glad I picked it up when I did, because it was amazing! Spectacular writing, and crafty storytelling, Christian White will be the author we will be talking about in 2019. Thank you Minotaur Books for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. If you've read The Nowhere Child , let's chat! This book is perfect for a book club, or a group of buddy readers, but sadly I read this by myself. I really want to know what you thought about it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Selena

    I received an advanced ARC copy of The Nowhere Child by Christian White for my honest review. This is the first novel by Christian White, an Australian author. In 1990, two-year-old Sammy Went is abducted in the middle of the day, from her home in Manson, Kentucky. No trace of her was ever found. Now, twenty-eight years later, photography teacher, Kimberly Leamy is approached by a man who shows her a photograph of Sammy Went. The photo shows that Sammy resembles Kim when she was two-years-old. I received an advanced ARC copy of The Nowhere Child by Christian White for my honest review. This is the first novel by Christian White, an Australian author. In 1990, two-year-old Sammy Went is abducted in the middle of the day, from her home in Manson, Kentucky. No trace of her was ever found. Now, twenty-eight years later, photography teacher, Kimberly Leamy is approached by a man who shows her a photograph of Sammy Went. The photo shows that Sammy resembles Kim when she was two-years-old. He thinks that Kim is Sammy Went. Kim doesn't believe any of it. She can't believe that her mother, Carol Leamy, who is now deceased could ever have kidnapped a child. As time passes the idea an picture bother Kim so she asks her stop-dad. Kim is suddenly driving to Kentucky, where it all happened, to find out things for herself. A tragic event, stories not told, secrets to be found. A wonderful debut novel with lots of twist and turns.

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