|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
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
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.
My copy of The Girl In The Red Coat came in yesterday's post. I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy and couldn't wait to read it. So I settled into bed and turned the first page. I didn't stop reading until I was finished with the book. It took me nearly three hours to read it. I went to sleep dreaming of Carmel and Beth. And I woke up still thinking about this mother-daughter duo - their stories touching me deep in my heart. Part of me wants to start reading it all over again. The other part wants to let it marinate for a bit, before I reread it. This book is just so damn good.
Kate Hamer's debut novel, The Girl In The Red Coat, is intense, gripping, and unputdownable. Its the kind of book that you won't want to stop reading, because you need to know what's going to happen. This is a book that makes you forget about your surroundings - it swallows you up and takes you inside the story. A story about a mother and daughter who get separated. Beth is a single mom trying to make ends meet. She's also a bit anxious about everything. She has this belief that she will lose her daughter, so she is constantly keeping an eye on her - much to Carmel's annoyance. Carmel is a smart, sweet, and fun-loving eight-year-old. She's also eager for her mother to let up a bit and allow her some independence. Paul is Carmel's father and he hasn't been around since he divorced Beth some months ago. He swoops in one afternoon and takes his daughter to the movies and dinner, leaving Beth alone with her thoughts. Carmel is happy to see her father, but worries about her mom. Then one day, its time to go to the storytelling festival that Beth promised to take Carmel to. They take the train, because its a special treat. Once at the festival, they listen to stories, eat hot dogs, and get enveloped in the sea mist that's suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The two head toward the booksellers' stalls and start perusing titles. Beth is getting anxious and upset, because its too foggy to see Carmel. She forces her daughter to hold her hand tightly. Once they are looking at books, Carmel wanders off to check out some titles. She's annoyed that her mom's ruining the day with her constant vigilance, so she decides to take a break from her and hides beneath a table. Carmel reads a book for quite some time and realizes its been too long since she's last seen her mom. So she climbs out from beneath the table and expects to find her mom standing nearby waiting for her, but she's not there. Carmel looks around and around. She starts to get scared. Beth is frantically looking for Carmel. One minute she was right in front of her and the next she was gone. She wanders all over the festival calling out Carmel's name. She grabs at anyone wearing a red coat, mistaking them for her daughter. A man on stilts offer to help. Soon the cops arrive and its been four hours since she's last seen her daughter and Beth is freaking out. What happened to Carmel?
Told via dual narratives (Beth and Carmel), we find out what happens to Carmel on that day. We find out about this mother-daughter duo before and after. Its heartbreaking to read, but you can't seem to stop yourself from reading. The urgency with which Hamer writes Beth's point of view is palpable. You can feel the fear and worry taking over Beth's body and mind as she searches for Carmel. You can feel the mist suffocating her as she tries to see through it, in the hopes of locating a little girl in a red coat. I wanted to slap the festival worker who seemed annoyed by Beth's request for help - Her daughter is missing!! Help this woman out!! I hated when Paul came by and blamed Beth for Carmel - accusing her of losing her!! WTF!! And the truth is, Beth felt responsible. She truly thought it was her fault Carmel was gone. That perhaps her constant obsession with this idea that one day she would lose her daughter manifested itself in her actually losing her daughter. My heart broke for Beth. As for Carmel, oh how I wanted to reach into the book and hug her. I wanted to grab her hand and lead her back to safety. These characters become so dear to you, all you want is for them to get their happy ending. I absolutely loved reading this book! Hamer's writing is fantastic - its rich with imagery, strong with details, and stuffed full of emotions that range from happy to devastated. You can't help but get caught up in it all. This story is a parent's worst nightmare, which makes it so relatable. The Girl In The Red Coat is truly a superb novel.
Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Girl In The Red Coat
Thanks to the publisher I am able to offer one copy of Kate Hamer's, The Girl In The Red Coat, to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave me a comment and I will throw your name in the hat. The last day to enter is March 15, 2016. Open to US/Canada residents only. Good luck!!