Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Girl in the Red Coat - by Kate Hamer - haunting and ethereal

From the publisher

Kate Hamer's stand-out debut thriller is the hugely moving story of an abduction that will keep you guessing until the very last page. Carmel has always been different. Carmel's mother, Beth, newly single, worries about her daughter's strangeness, especially as she is trying to rebuild a life for the two of them on her own. When she takes eight year-old Carmel to a local children's festival, her worst fear is realised: Carmel disappears. Unable to accept the possibility that her daughter might be gone for good, Beth embarks on a mission to find her. Meanwhile, Carmel begins an extraordinary and terrifying journey of her own, with a man who believes she is a saviour.
My thoughts ....

Oooh, what a fabulous debut novel this is. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy just before I went on my pre-Christmas holiday (I was also most unfortunate to come down with a bad dose of flu at the same time which meant the first half of my holiday in the sun, was spent lolling around, recuperating and gave me plenty of time to read)

This haunting and ethereal psychological chiller, the story of a missing child and her Mothers search for her, is written in the voices of 2 of the most compelling fictional characters I've come across in some time.

Narrated in turn by Mother and daughter both experiencing the same event over a lengthy period, from 2 very different viewpoints. Beth, recently abandoned by her husband, single Mum of 8 year old Carmel, a dreamy, slightly fey, bookish and bright. yet completely adored daughter. Still stressed by her husbands betrayal, Beth battles to put her own hurt aside and make quality time with Carmel. One day they head off together to a story tellers festival. In this exciting and lively atmosphere Beth tries to stave off panic attacks and make sure Carmel has a day to remember, but her pre-occupation and momentary lapses of concentration lead to the unthinkable and in a split second her daughter is missing, abducted for a special reason - but by whom and why?

What follows is the story of guilt and self recrimination of a devoted Mum who blames herself for her daughters absence and her conviction that they'll be re-united. Even more compelling is Carmels tale, spanning continents and told in the voice of an 8 year old, the book reminded me slightly of Room [book:Room|7937843] Carmel is special, unique and utterly believeable. Almost a coming of age story we watch Carmel grow, and discover how her life progresses without the maternal love she craves. There is an other wordliness to the telling and the feelings and thoughts which swirl around Beths mind and impeccably written, as is the destiny of a growing girl with exceptional potential.

Due to be released in March 2015 this is definitely one to watch for and already destined to be one of my favourite reads.

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