By: Kate Hamer
Narrator: Beamish Antonia
Publication Date: 2/26/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
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.
Review to follow!
Buy the Book
“Keeps the reader turning pages at a frantic clip . . . What’s most powerful here is not whodunit, or even why, but how this mother and daughter bear their separation, and the stories they tell themselves to help endure it.”
—Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You
“Hamer’s book is a moving, voice-driven narrative. As much an examination of loss and anxiety as it is a gripping page-turner, it’ll appeal to anyone captivated by child narrators or analyses of the pains and joys of motherhood.”
“Compulsively readable . . . Beautifully written and unpredictable . . . I had to stop myself racing to the end to find out what happened . . . Kate Hamer catches at the threads of what parents fear most—the abduction of a child—and weaves a disturbing and original story. There is menace in this book, lurking in the shadows on every page, but also innocence, love, and hope.”
—Rosamund Lupton, author of Sisters
“Gripping and sensitive—beautifully written, The Girl in the Red Coat is a compulsive, aching story full of loss and redemption.”
—Lisa Ballantyne, author of The Guilty One
“[A] spectacular debut … Telling the story in two remarkable voices, with Beth’s chapters unfurling in past tense and Carmel’s in present tense, the author weaves a page-turning narrative. The trajectories of the novel’s two leads—through despair, hope, and redemption—are believable and nuanced, resulting in a morally complex, haunting read.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Hamer’s lush use of language easily conjures fairy-tale imagery, especially of dark forests and Little Red Riding Hood. Although a kidnapped child is the central plot point, this is not a mystery but a novel of deep inquiry and intense emotions. Hamer’s dark tale of the lost and found is nearly impossible to put down and will spark much discussion.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Poignantly details the loss and loneliness of a mother and daughter separated...Fast-paced ... Hamer beautifully renders pain, exactly capturing the evisceration of loss...Exquisite prose surrounding a mother and daughter torn apart.”
About the Author
Kate Hamer grew up in Pembrokeshire. She did a Creative Writing MA at Aberystwyth University and the Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing course. She won the Rhys Davies short story award in 2011 and her winning story was read out on BBC Radio 4. She has recently been awarded a Literature Wales bursary. She lives in Cardiff with her husband. The Girl in the Red Coat (March 2015) is her first novel. Read More