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The Girl in the Red Coat
by Kate Hamer


Overview - An Amazon Best Book of the Year for 2016
Costa Book Award for First Novel finalist
Dagger Award finalist

"Kate Hamer s gripping debut novelimmediately recalls the explosion of similarly titled books and movies, from Stieg Larsson s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, to The Girl on the Train to Gone Girl " Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Keeps the reader turning pages at a frantic clip...
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More About The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer
 
 
 
Overview
An Amazon Best Book of the Year for 2016
Costa Book Award for First Novel finalist
Dagger Award finalist

"Kate Hamer s gripping debut novelimmediately recalls the explosion of similarly titled books and movies, from Stieg Larsson s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, to The Girl on the Train to Gone Girl " Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
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

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 simpossible to put down . . . and impossible to forget."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781612195001
  • ISBN-10: 1612195008
  • Publisher: Melville House Publishing
  • Publish Date: February 2016
  • Page Count: 336


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Suspense
Books > Fiction > Psychological

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-01-11
  • Reviewer: Staff

British single mother Beth knows her eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, has a tendency to wander—at a local corn maze, on school trips—but one foggy day, the girl vanishes at a local festival and cannot be found. A man who claims to be Carmel's grandfather convinces her that Beth has been in a terrible accident, so Carmel leaves the fairgrounds with him and winds up at a secluded home with the man and his female companion, Dorothy. As Beth frantically searches and slowly isolates herself from the outside world, Carmel is told after careful manipulation that her mother has died, and soon finds herself in America with her new "grandparents," who work as spiritualist healers. Carmel fights to remember her past, but as time passes and she crisscrosses the country, her old life begins to fade. It takes everything in her to remember her name, her address, and her parents. Hamer's spectacular debut skillfully chronicles the nightmare of child abduction. 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. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

A mother and daughter torn apart

At a crowded outdoor book fair, a mother and daughter are separated. In the I-turned-around-and-she-was-gone of a parent’s nightmares, 8-year-old Carmel vanishes. Did Carmel, whose teacher calls her “dreamy,” try to get lost? Or did the fears of her recently divorced mother, Beth, cause it to happen? These questions tear at mother and daughter as they navigate unfamiliar, foreboding territory. 

In The Girl in the Red Coat, which made the shortlist for the Costa First Novel Award after its publication in the U.K., Welsh writer Kate Hamer seamlessly alternates between the perspectives of mother and daughter, capturing the ongoing effects of a tragedy in stark detail. Struggling to describe her daughter’s hair to police, Beth finally settles on the exact color of a brown paper envelope, believing that if she can just be detailed and precise enough, that will bring Carmel back. Hamer pinpoints the moments that take on a painful poignancy after a loss: Beth walking past Carmel’s school; seeing the red shoes Carmel wanted in a shop window; realizing the first time she went a minute without thinking of her daughter. 

Hamer also thoroughly inhabits the voice of young Carmel, who is at once both childlike and preternaturally endowed. Taken by a man with a fanatical agenda, she is a pawn in a game she doesn’t understand. The author lets the reader linger in uncertainty and frustration as Carmel’s rescue seems further and further away. The tension builds, making the book one you want to finish, but also can’t bear to keep reading. As Beth marks the time—day 1, day 7, day 51, day 100—we hope, worry, fear, trust and doubt with her and Carmel. The Girl in the Red Coat is an engrossing, smart, well-paced read that surprises until the end.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews