The Girl in the Red Coat
• An Amazon Best Book of the Year for 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.
Memories grew out of the darkness; their quick growing webs crossing my path so I walked into them unawares and felt their skeins across my face.
I see the energy in people and how it goes up and down, how they can be empty or full like a glass of milk.
I hated thinking of the nights I’d spent eviscerating her around the kitchen table with my friends, my mouth stitching bitter shapes as I talked.
The dollars spill out of the cut-out Bible. We can’t even close the cover. Dorothy tucks away the spare ones underneath her pillow, then pats the top of the pillow, like she’s putting babies to bed.
I was enthralled, engrossed, and mesmerized by Ms. Hamer’s taut and atmospheric writing style. I was immediately pulled into this gripping tale which seemed to have planted deep hooks into my gray matter that did not release until well after I reached the final page. I’m still musing over the expert craft, insightful observations, complicated characters, and intricate ancillary details that added color and sound for an additional bonus layer of interest. The storyline was intense and intriguing with a consistently maintained and thrumming sense of heaviness. I am in awe of Ms. Hamer’s textual agility and am eager to instantly dive into her next book, The Doll Funeral.
Kate Hamer grew up in the West Country and Wales. She studied art and worked for a number of years in television and radio. In 2011 she won the Rhys Davies Short Story Prize and her short stories have appeared in many collections. Her novel THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT was published in the UK by Faber & Faber, in the US by Melville House and has been translated into 17 different languages. It was shortlisted for The Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book Industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, The John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller. Her new novel THE DOLL FUNERAL has been a Radio4 Open Book editor’s pick and a Bookseller Book of the Month.