‘Where are you coming from with that accent of yours?’ he asks.
‘Nowhere,’ I reply. ‘I’m from nowhere.’
‘Everyone’s from somewhere,’ he says.
‘Not me,’ I reply silently.
Clemency Smittson, known as Smitty, was adopted as a baby, with no clues to who her birth parents are. Except for a box, beautifully decorated with butterflies. In Finland, expectant mothers are given a box by the government that contains all the necessities – clothes, blankets, and the box itself, which is lined with a mattress, to be used as the baby’s first bed. Smitty’s box inspired her love of butterflies, and serves as the key to finding her birth mother.
After the breakdown of her relationship, Smitty moves down to the coast, to open her own jewellery shop and clear her head. Through her work, she meets a woman who explains the tradition of the baby box, and inadvertently sets Smitty on the path of finding her birth family.
This isn’t the typical story of someone who was adopted trying to find their birth parents. In fact, there’s nothing typical about this story at all. It’s full of secrets, twists and betrayals, but it’s also so much more. Koomson tackles the themes of race and casual racism, of not fitting in and striving to do so, with flair and grace. The story is fast-paced and intricate, full of intriguing characters you can’t wait to learn more about.
I absolutely loved this novel. Koomson is one of my favourite authors; it seems like each of her novels are better than the last. Highly original, and so incredibly well-written you’d be forgiven for believing that you were reading her own personal story. Perhaps we are, and if so, we are truly blessed.
Growing up, Smitty felt like she didn’t fit in with her family, that she wasn’t real. But her emotions, her thoughts, justifications and idioms, make her incredibly real. And so, in truth, she’s nothing but.
That Girl From Nowhere will be released on April 9th, and will be available on Lovereading, the UK’s No 1 book recommendation site.