Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Melville House (February 16, 2016)
Costa Book Award for First Novel finalist
Dagger Award finalist
Newly single mom Beth has one constant, gnawing worry: that her dreamy eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, who has a tendency to wander off, will one day go missing.
And then one day, it happens: On a Saturday morning thick with fog, Beth takes Carmel to a local outdoor festival, they get separated in the crowd, and Carmel is gone.
Shattered, Beth sets herself on the grim and lonely mission to find her daughter, keeping on relentlessly even as the authorities tell her that Carmel may be gone for good.
Carmel, meanwhile, is on a strange and harrowing journey of her own—to a totally unexpected place that requires her to live by her wits, while trying desperately to keep in her head, at all times, a vision of her mother …
Alternating between Beth’s story and Carmel’s, and written in gripping prose that won’t let go, The Girl in the Red Coat—like Emma Donoghue’s Room and M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans—is an utterly immersive story that’s impossible to put down . . . and impossible to forget.
“Keeps the reader turning pages at a frantic clip… What’s most powerful here is not whodunnit, or even why, but how this mother and daughter bear their separation, and the stories they tell themselves to help endure it.” —Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You)
“Compulsively readable…Beautifully written and unpredictable, I had to stop myself racing to the end to find out what happened.” —Rosamund Lupton (Sister)
“Both gripping and sensitive — beautifully written, it is a compulsive, aching story full of loss and redemption.” —Lisa Ballantyne (The Guilty One)
“Hamer’s dark tale of the lost and found is nearly impossible to put down.” —Booklist .\
A mother's worst nightmare... her child goes missing. Divorced Beth is raising her daughter, Carmel, pretty much by herself. Then, one foggy day... Carmel is gone.
There were times I had to lay this book down and take a few minutes to step away because it's so intensely emotional. I'm a mom, and the thought of one of my children (I have three daughters, so I especially connected) going missing... a lump immediately forms in my throat.
But added to that is the girl's journey (which we get to see thanks to alternating points of view). I would grieve for the mother and then go through a myriad of emotions for the daughter. So many times I worried tragedy was just around the corner.
I won't give away any more, and I hope no reviewers give away the ending. However, I will say the story ended too abruptly for me. Ultimately, that's a compliment because I didn't want to let the characters go.
An emotional journey that will grab your heart and not let go. Highly recommend.
Rating: 4 stars
About Kate Hamer
KATE HAMER is a winner of the Rhys Davies Short Story Prize. Girl in the Red Coat is her first novel. It is shortlisted for the Costa Book Award for First Novel and a finalist for The Dagger Award.
She lives in Cardiff, Wales with her husband and two children.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.