This is the second of Ruth Dugdall's book that I have read. I read Humber Boy B earlier this year and it blew me away. I was offered Nowhere Girl to read in exchange for an honest review.
Nowhere Girl is a haunting story of life in Luxembourg City focused around immigrants to the country both legal and those illegally trafficked. The book focusses around Cate, a British ex-probation officer who as recently left her job to move with her French policeman boyfriend to Luxembourg. Although this follows on from the previous book, Humber Boy B and I believe these are books 4 and 5 of a series in which Cate is the main character, I have not felt like I was missing out on anything by not reading the full set. In fact, I didn't realise they were a series as the background to Cate, and Olivier her boyfriend, is written so well in each book that you don't feel you have missed anything while equally you don't get bored with repetition of scenarios from earlier books.
My overwhelming feeling while reading this was sadness. Sadness over the bleakness of life for illegal immigrants, as well as for the other characters. The book is dark and haunting, secrets and twists take you on a journey through the underworld of Luxembourg but this could be the underworld of any city. Driven by strong female characters, the book is both a tale of the huge risks taken to improve your life, the results of decisions both good and bad and the strength of women to overcome their situation - in fact Amina, Auntie, Ellie, Jodie, Cate and Bridget's stories are similar and yet so different. All out of place in a strange country, all unsure of their place in that world and all with limited ability to deal with it. Interestingly, I didn't like Cate as much in this book as I had in Humber Boy B but I can't put my finger on why.
Sinister, dark and haunting this is a book that I woke up this morning thinking about, even though I finished it yesterday. Definitely recommended.
Thanks to Jessica at Legend Press and Netaglley for my copy for review.