Review of The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor

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This book came with a highly recommended by Himself who was completely caught up in the story, both laughing aloud and weeping while reading it.

thenothinggirlKnown as “The Nothing Girl” because of her severe stutter and chronically low self-confidence, Jenny Dove is only just prevented from ending it all by the sudden appearance of Thomas, a mystical golden horse only she can see. Under his guidance, Jenny unexpectedly acquires a husband – the charming and chaotic Russell Checkland – and for her, nothing will ever be the same again. With over-protective relatives on one hand and the world’s most erratic spouse on the other, Jenny needs to become Someone. And fast!

Jenny has the harshest of starts and the beginning of the story yanked me in. I loved the dry humour of the first person narration in Jenny’s voice and initially thought the golden horse meant a paranormal adventure, but this tale is more Cecelia Ahern than Kelley Armstrong. Thomas, who only she can see, is her constant companion and accompanies her after her thwarted suicide attempt throughout her very isolated and boring life. She is still living in her aunt and uncle’s attic, largely ignored, until aged twenty-eight, when the world crashes into her humdrum existence.

I’m not saying more, as I’ll be venturing into Spoiler territory, but this accomplished, unusual book manages to successfully produce a tongue-tied, stuttering heroine who isn’t boring or victimised. There is also the charismatic, charming Russel who is selfish, unreliable and headstrong – whom I really enjoyed. Taylor is very adept as using humour throughout, including the various arguments, which meant I read chunks of this book with a grin on my face. And then near the end, I also had a big lump in my throat… There are only a handful of books that are able to evoke that spectrum of emotions.

It is something of a genre mash-up as in amongst all the general chaos that becomes Jenny’s life, a crime mystery gradually emerges. It is neatly done with an enjoyably satisfying and unexpected denouement. This is a real roller-coaster of a book and if you are feeling a tad jaded, or have emerged a little shaken from the full-on shocking thriller/horror/wrenching non-fiction disclosure – then give yourself a treat and have a go at this one.
9/10

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