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The Girl in the Red Coat

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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.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published January 13, 2015

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About the author

Kate Hamer

11 books394 followers
Kate Hamer's third novel CRUSHED is published in May 2019 (Faber & Faber). She is the author of THE DOLL FUNERAL (Faber & Faber 2017) which was a Bookseller book of the month and an editor's pick for Radio 4's Open Book. Her first novel THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT has been translated into 18 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. She grew up in the west country and rural Pembrokeshire and now lives with her husband in Cardiff.

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5 stars
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,241 reviews
Profile Image for Megan Hoffman.
174 reviews278 followers
May 4, 2017
Kate Hamer's new novel, 'The Girl In The Red Coat,' is the story of a mother who loses her daughter while at a storytelling festival, and the daughter who finds herself living amongst strangers in a country other than where she went missing. The search for her turns up many leads, but most turn out to be false leads. Still, hope is not lost and the belief that the young girl is still alive stays strong. The girl, on the other hand, is fed lie after lie until she begins to realize that even she doesn't know who she is anymore.

Told from the points of view of both the mother and the young girl, I love that you never feel like you're missing out in this story. As a reader, it's easy to think that maybe you aren't being given all of the details, but I never felt that even once in this story. It's also very cohesive in it's switching back and forth, so I really never felt confused or lost as to who was telling the story at the moment.

Kate Hamer should also be praised for her incredibly beautiful writing. It's not a heart pounding thriller, but I still found myself on the edge of my seat needing to know what happens next. Needless to say I finished this book rather quickly, and actually wish that I had been able to enjoy it more. What can I say, patience isn't my strong point.

Throughout this story, you feel the fear that sometimes engulfs the young girl. You feel the panic and pain and weariness that takes over the life of her mother. It takes a lot to feel what a character feels, so this author earns my utmost respect for being able to do this so seemingly effortlessly. It makes for an emotionally exhausting read, but one that is entirely worth it in the end.

What did I think?: I honestly think this is going to be a tough competitor for my favorite book of the year. It's one of those that even days after I've finished it, I still can't stop thinking about how much I enjoyed it. I stayed up later finishing it, and I've recommended it to countless people already. I'm surprised I haven't heard more about it, but I'm hoping in time more people will realize just what a spectacular read this is. Also I would be totally on board to see a movie adaptation of this one!

Who should read it?: I'm almost kicking myself for this, but if you loved "Gone Girl" or any of the "the next Gone Girl" titles, you'd probably enjoy this one. It definitely falls into that bucket, but is different enough that I have a hard time comparing the two side-by-side.

*I was provided with a copy of this book in order to conduct this honest review.*

Profile Image for Julie .
3,998 reviews58.9k followers
April 3, 2018
The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer is a 2016 Melville House publication.

A mystery/thriller that takes the reader on an emotional, heart wrenching journey –

Beth’s worst nightmare comes to fruition when her daughter, Caramel, is abducted. Both mother and daughter relate to the reader how their lives have changed since that fateful day, as they both sadly adjust to a new normal. For Beth, her life never fully moves forward as she continues to search for Caramel, never giving up hope, against all odds. But, for Caramel, her life takes a more sinister turn as she finds herself in one very strange environment, one that becomes progressively worse and more dangerous as time goes by.

This book certainly does have its moments of suspense, and a prevailing sense of dread casts a pall over the book. But is it really a mystery or a thriller? In my mind, that may be a bit of a stretch. Okay, yes, there is a crime, and the book follows the fallout of that crime, but we know who abducted Caramel, we know how they did it, and pretty much why they did it. The only mystery remaining is how all this will eventually play out.

Is it a thriller? Again, Caramel’s life does seem to hang in the balance as her situation becomes quite bleak, and what will become of her is very unclear, but her freedom doesn’t feel eminent. Again, I’m not sure this book fits neatly into that category- or any one genre for that matter.

The ‘girl’ books were reaching a peak of popularity in 2016, and so the title may have drawn some comparisons to those types of books. Unfortunately, those comparisons, in my opinion, are way, way, way off base… as usual.

But, while scrolling through my library wish list a week or so ago, I realized this book had been languishing on the list for a really long time and I’d forgotten what the book was even about. When I saw the blurbs comparing this book to all the ‘girl’ novels, I almost removed it from the list, but there is just something so compelling and haunting about child abductions, I changed my mind and checked it out on the spot. I definitely made the right decision.

For me this journey was a heavy hearted, melancholy trek through despair, horror, anxiety, and the infuriating injustice of robbing two wonderful people of the special mother and daughter relationship. Beth learns the hard way to prioritize, which leads to a new type of relationship with her ex-husband and his new wife and with her estranged parents. Yet, that unique connection mothers have with their children, that bond that trumps all others, often puts Beth on a very solitary path. My heart broke on her behalf, and I found myself swallowing a lump in my throat on more than one occasion.

Caramel never forgets her mother while she is away, but her story is one that is confounding to me on several levels. Carmel is such a cool kid, smart in ways no one seems to understand. She maintains her sense of self, but it is certainly a struggle. She is also quite ‘gifted’, which is a part of the story that simply ‘is’, without exploring too deeply. Her captors are aware of how special she is and used her abilities for their own benefit. I worried over Caramel, and you will too. While Beth’s loneliness jumps off the page and her narrative felt so intensely personal, Caramel’s story is the saddest of all. This little girl will steal your heart.

This book was not at all like I expected it to be. The writing is superb, drawing the reader into the story almost effortlessly will keep you invested in the lives Beth and Caramel, despite that mix of hope and dread. If you are expecting a traditional mystery, this one doesn’t fit that bill, but it is worth every agonizing chapter and is a story you won’t soon forget.

4 stars

Profile Image for Duddimai.
63 reviews2 followers
January 15, 2016
it started out okay and i really liked Carmel and following her line of thoughts about the world and people around her but all the jesus stuff just got annoying and her not trying harder to find out the truth or trying herself to contact her dad. I only kept reading because I could not wait for her reaction that surely had to come, when realizing the truth. but that part never came. It was a dud and i feel this book took all my energy away. boo.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,192 reviews1,244 followers
April 11, 2016
I honestly did not know how to rate this book. It has stirred up so many different emotions within. I even put it aside for a while because of the subject matter and the deep fear that lurked in every corner.

"As if Carmel had not been taken but had shattered apart into fragments. An explosion of particles, fine like glass, and I could somehow learn to knit her back together again."

Within moments, Beth's life would be forever changed. Her eight year old daughter had been abducted at a book fair in Norfolk, England. Carmel had a tendency to stray on her own. But this time, it was far, far different. The hours turned into days, weeks, and more. Both Beth and myself, we stayed at the window and kept vigilant.

The writing is sheer bliss. The story is told, chapter by chapter, through the voice of the mother, Beth, and through the voice of the missing Carmel. The perspectives are genuine by design. There is no need for the usual backstories and fill-ins. The emotions are, therefore, direct and aimed fully toward the reader. I approached the story with dragging feet and with much dread. And yet, the characters of both Beth and Carmel propelled me deeper and deeper into this abyss. I had to know. I had to know.

So proceed with this one, dear reader. Just know that the lull of the writing will see you through. I cannot wait to experience the next offering crafted in the hands of Kate Hamer.

Profile Image for Idarah.
464 reviews49 followers
February 5, 2017
"Are all mysteries finally solved or do some last forever? What happens when we die. What became of my little girl. Do they end? Or can unknowing go on for always?"

This was such a richly crafted novel! I'm still taking everything in. When Beth's eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, vanishes without a trace right before her eyes, it feels as though her world has surreptiously turned on its axis. She retraces the events of that day every minute she's conscious. How does a parent recover from something so tragic? When the leads fizzle out and time goes on, Hamer paints a loving and endearing portrait of a mother struggling to stay alive, and to put one foot in front of the other day after day. She refuses to give up hope or to ever stop looking for her little girl.

Carmel, on the other hand, has fallen into the hands of a strange group of characters. As mother and daughter work toward finding each other, it just pulls at all the right heartstrings. Hamer's skillful use of alternating perspectives between chapters, and a totally unexpected plot twist, made this thrilling to read, and pushed me into uncharted reading waters. Can't believe this is her first book. I'll be on the look out for her next book.
Profile Image for Fictionophile .
1,000 reviews327 followers
November 12, 2020
Everyone is acquainted with the feeling of blind panic that comes about when you lose something valuable such as a wallet. It is almost as though your senses converge and ALL you can think about is finding your lost item. Then, imagine that feeling magnified exponentially… for it is a precious child you have lost.

This is the tale of a loving mother and daughter who become separated. Beth, a single mother living in Norfolk, England and her eight year-old daughter, Carmel. They are everything to each other. Carmel is a precocious, sensitive, and intelligent little girl who loves books, words, drawing, and animals. For a special treat Beth takes Carmel to a story-telling fair. A sort of carnival with tents set up in a big field. Each tent features a person reading from a book. Books are for sale there as well. When a ‘sea fog‘ rolls in they become separated.

Carmel is abducted by who she believes to be her grandfather – but who is actually an unethical American preacher. As I read this novel I was filled with a sense of disquieting unease. The man that has taken Carmel is not physically unkind to her, but he is emotionally cruel. However, his warped thinking prohibits the reader from hating him too much… He believes in faith healing and he also believes that Carmel has the ability to heal by ‘the laying on of the hands‘. His belief is well founded.

“The Girl in the Red Coat” is told in short chapters alternating from Beth’s to Carmel’s point of view. Carmel’s story is told in an eight year-old’s voice and is done so with skill and empathy. Beth’s story, equally tragic, is one of a mother clinging to hope, trying to cope with equal parts guilt and despair. It tells of the little mind games she plays, making ‘bargains’ with God as the days without Carmel turn into weeks, then months…

Despite their mutual tragedy, life rolls on bringing about its own guilt and separate experiences. New people enter the lives of both Beth and Carmel.

Stories play a huge part in this novel. The ones loved by the protagonists as well as the ones the protagonists tell themselves in order to endure the unthinkable events that have occurred in their lives. It’s not really a mystery because we know whodunit. It is the senseless tragedy of the situation that plays upon the reader’s psyche.

It is the writing that sets this novel apart from other tales of missing/abducted children. The characters were unforgettable and the sentences were wrought with vivid imagery. It is difficult to believe that this is a debut novel.

5 stars This review and many others can be found on my blog: https://fictionophile.wordpress.com/
Also, I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY of this novel. Visit my blog for instructions to enter.
Profile Image for Mike Sumner.
516 reviews23 followers
March 12, 2016
I am emotionally drained after reading The Girl in the Red Coat. I couldn't wait to finish it. For all the wrong reasons. I wanted it to be over; to move on to something else. Compelled to finish and at times wondering why. Another plot about an abducted child - 8 year old Carmel. Thought to be endowed with the gift of healing. Snatched from under her mother's nose, Beth, by a man who professes to be her grandfather, but isn't, and later identified as a religious fanatic, who sees in Carmel a means to make money using her "special gift". Some of the plot is preposterous. Too many unanswered questions. Snatched from Norfolk, a few chapters later, we find Carmel in the USA. An eight year old girl, no passport, smuggled into America through the most rigorous immigration process I know and she has no memory of how she got there. And the author doesn't tell us.

I am not going to dwell further on the plot; other reviewers have done that, but for me it gets bogged down in the middle. The constant switching between chapters from the voice of Carmel to the voice of the desperate mother Beth. Compelling at first, tiresome at last. I found myself saying - good grief, how much longer? And yet, for all that, I had to finish it quickly. The ending, after the prolonged story line, came all too quickly, in a matter of ten pages or so and still left much unanswered.

This is probably a good read to get you through a long flight but it left me feeling rather disappointed, having read so much hype about this book, shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards.
Profile Image for Jane.
820 reviews610 followers
March 9, 2015
At first glance I thought that ‘The Girl in the Read Coast’ looked like a crime novel, but when I looked more closely I found that it was rather more than that: a story of a mother and a daughter, and of the practical and emotional consequences of the crime that separates them.

Beth is a woman adjusting to a as a single mother to her adored daughter; because her husband left her for another woman.

Carmel is eight years-old; she is bright, sensitive, a little bit dreamy, a little other-worldly even, and she is very close to her mother.

Now every mother is thinks her daughter is special, and Beth is no different; what is different is that there really might be something – a special gift – that sets Carmel apart.

All of this becomes clear as the narrative moves backwards and forwards between them. Their two voices were distinctive, they were engaging, and they both rang true. I found it easy to turn the pages quickly.

What would happen was foreshadowed:

‘”You realise, Mum, that I won’t always be with you,” she said, her voice small and breathy in the fading light.

Maybe my heart should have frozen then. Maybe I should have turned and gathered her up and taken her home. Kept her shut away in a fortress or a tower. Locked with a golden key that I would swallow, so my stomach would have to be cut open before she could be found. But of course I thought it meant nothing, nothing at all.’

At a local storytelling festival Carmel drifts away when her mother is distracted for a moment. Beth looks for her, sure that she will be able to pick out her daughters red coat from the crowd – Carmel adored the colour red. She couldn’t; Carmel had vanished and her worst fears became her new reality.

That red coat had made it very easy for somebody else to pick out Carmel. She was tricked into believing that she was being fetched for a reason by a person who would spin a very clever web of lies.

The story continues to move between mother and daughter, as one must deal with overwhelming grief and guilt, her ex-husband’s accusations of not having looked after their daughter properly, the pain of separation and not knowing; and the other must deal with a new and very different life, with the loss of everything she had ever known, and with the fear that she would lose the little girl that she knew she was.

‘I start talking and I say it real fierce. I have to say it before it all gets forgotten.

“This is what you must remember. My name is Carmel Summer Wakeford. I used to love in Norfolk, England. My mum’s name was Beth and my dad’s name is Paul. He has a girlfriend called Lucy. I lived in a house with a tree by the side and a spider’s web my the back door. My mum had a glass cat she kept by her bed. There was a picture that said ‘There’s No Place Like Home’. The curtains downstairs were orange. My teacher’s name was Mrs Buckfast. One time my dad took me sailing. My name is Carmel. My name is Carmel Summer Wakeford”

I stop and look around me.

I’m Carmel. I’m alone.’

Though there is a crime this book doesn’t follow the investigation: it follows the lives and the emotions of Beth and Carmel. Their voices ring true, and their stories continued to engage my heart as I followed episodes of their lives over a period of years.

So, is this a good – or maybe even a great – book?

Well, the heart says ‘yes’ but the head says ‘I’m sot so sure’.

The writing style is lovely, it’s haunting and images of stories and storytelling are very effectively through; but sometimes that softens the impact of emotions and events. The episodic story structure loses some significant moments – and leaves some major practical points unexplained.

There are times when the story slows and there are times – particularly at the very end – when it feels rushed.

It was were unanswered questions, but I felt that there were rather too many of them; and I wish that the question of Camel’s ‘specialness had been handled differently.

And yet I was engaged, I was involved; I cared from the first page to the last, and I had to know what would happen.

This is a good book; it’s very readable, and it would be a lovely holiday read.

My reservations stem from the fact that it could have been more.
Profile Image for Kasia.
209 reviews47 followers
July 20, 2016
I struggled with this book for a long time and was determined to finished it. I wasn't bad. No. Just below average for me. Especially the second part.
I should've learned by now not to judge the book by the hype it creates. But I couldn't help it. Ive read reviews, looked at the cover, followed Man Booker Prize predictions and pumped myself up. And then, when I actually got the book and started reading -- I didn't like --I felt like it was my fault; like I wasn't smart enough to understand such a quality piece of literature...
Or maybe this book sucks and not everyone can see it. Judge it on your own.
Profile Image for Sara the Librarian.
739 reviews317 followers
February 23, 2016
The book shelf says it all. This book is eluding me. I wish there were some half star options because I'm reluctant to stick this beautifully written story in the purgatorial, neither good or bad, realm of three stars but despite her wonderful way with words and two haunting, clearly rendered characters I can't help feeling by stories end...nothing much.

Beth is a nervous, over protective mother still reeling from her husband's affair and their subsequent divorce. With no real career and no firm focus for the future she pours all of her energy into caring for her seven year old daughter Carmel. The fear of losing her is a constant, nagging worry she cannot shake. For her part Carmel is starting to feel the first stirrings of a need for independence and though her teachers and her mother worry about her dreamy ways of losing herself from time to time she's smart and resourceful and longing for her mother to loosen her hold.

At a story telling festival with a deep fog sweeping the gloomy English countryside Carmel tries to escape for just a moment from her mothers arms and just like that she is gone. Vanished without a trace.

The reader follows both women through the years as Carmel, far from home, struggles to keep the memory of her old life alive and Beth struggles to simply make it through another day. Their individual voices are distinct and beautiful. Carmel's childish and full of a sort of broken poetry that you might expect from a child who's special but just a little different too. Beth's voice is rich with the sadness of her loss before slowly beginning to ring with a new hope as her life moves on without her child.

Its hard to get into too much of the story without giving things away so I can only say that for me pretty writing can only go so far. Hamer is a very, very gifted writer and this is hand over fist better than 80% of the "missing kid" thrillers out there but given its subject matter there's virtually no tension or fear.

We spend huge amounts of time with Carmel and the strange circumstances she finds herself in and while they're refreshingly different from the typical pedophile serial killer you'd expect in this genre, they're also boring . Carmel's captors aren't only non-threatening they're actually kind of okay people who, yes, have kidnapped a kid but their reasoning, while insane, is weirdly not malicious.

Everything in this story is so gentle and strange. From the perpetrators whose crimes and desires remain oddly ambiguous and to Beth who's life opens and expands in fulfilling and wonderful ways once she's no longer caring for Carmel. Then there's an odd supernatural thread that starts to run through the narrative and I was never sure if it was merely a lovely metaphor or meant to be taken as truth.

Maybe I'm the problem and I just couldn't grasp what Hamer was trying to get across. Pretty to read but oddly pointless this marks the first time I've read a thriller that was the exact opposite of thrilling.
Profile Image for Jan.
769 reviews255 followers
December 20, 2014
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 Room 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.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,406 reviews1 follower
February 4, 2017
3.99 on 01/07/17

I had to sleep on this one before deciding on my rating, 3.5 rounded up to a 4.

There have been many other books about child abduction, for me this one was a bit "spooky". Gramps, Preacher Munroe, the fog, the maze.. The story switches between the voices of the mother Beth and her little girl Carmel. I credit the author with her ability to make us feel Beth's panic, grief, frayed nerves and emotions of the roller coaster ride she's on. The prose is beautiful. Each time I put it aside to clean, cook I was thinking of how long before I can read again. The ending left me with unanswered questions, perhaps that was the authors intention. A good debut novel.
Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,464 reviews9 followers
August 19, 2016
2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because it held me in its spell for 3 full days. But then in the end I was underwhelmed.

Lately, there seems to be a surplus of lost children and lost little girl stories especially, or haven't you noticed? Apparently, the publishers haven't. Some of these books are better than others at portraying the families left behind once the girl becomes lost. Some tell us what happened to the girl, while others keep us guessing. Here we get to know pretty much the whole story, and I felt that parts of it didn't add up.

The Girl in the Red Coat, Carmel, was eight when she was taken. She enjoyed hiding on her mother Beth, recently divorced and alone except for Carmel. One day at a book fair, Carmel hides under a table while a thick fog (conveniently) rolls onto the grounds, and she doesn't hear Beth calling for her. Instead, a man who has been following them around and planning for the right moment gives her the kind of story most kids are warned to be wary of, and off she goes with him. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, so I'll just say that Beth of course blames herself and her life is nothing short of being over. She does find some comforts, but they are few. Carmel is supposed to be higher than average intelligence, and at first I thought she was cute as a button and extremely sympathetic. But even when she stumbles upon some "information" damaging to her abductor, she fails to catch on or even suspect what's really going on. The ending just...ends, and I am left with many questions. Also disappointed that this took the path it did into what I'll call the paranormal, although it was how that journey ended that disappointed me more than the actual journey.
Profile Image for Crime by the Book.
192 reviews1,594 followers
December 30, 2015
AMAZING read. This book totally blew me away. First things first: it is TOTALLY unique and unpredictable, and likely to disappoint a reader looking for a traditional cat-and-mouse thriller. It is subtle, intelligent, and perceptive, and takes the reader deep into the psyches of both a young child going through an unimaginable trauma, and a mother left behind to search for her. Gorgeously written and intricately imagined, this story leaps off the page and wraps you up in a world of despair, imagination, and hope. I found myself openly crying through the last few pages of this book. It's totally unlike anything I've read before, and it is so much more than a typical mystery (though the story's central mystery remains compelling and urgent throughout the novel). It's not just about whodunnit - it's more importantly an exploration of grief, loss, and how we use our imaginations to cope with both.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,091 reviews88 followers
February 7, 2017
This is not your typical story of an abducted child. It offered a unique perspective, with alternating voices of the mother and daughter, with a touch of the supernatural.
Beth, recently divorced, is a mother prone to worry. Her daughter, Carmel, has a habit of "timing out" and disappearing. So she watches with vigilance on any outings they take. Yet, Carmel disappears at a Festival, and Beth is frantic. She carries the heavy weight of guilt and grief. As the story unfolds, it's revealed why Carmel was abducted, but so many times I wanted to scream "run, Carmel, run". But, as Carmel was only eight when she was taken, her gullibility was easily manipulated. I suffered with Beth and her inability to stop searching for Carmel.
While the book has it's flaws, and was slightly repetitive at times, it's a debut worth reading. The prose is elequent and emotional.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Profile Image for Lisa.
733 reviews
April 19, 2017
While the premise of this book sounded good it really was a total letdown, I did like the POV of Beth & Carmel through each chapter, but I felt like I was in The Wizard OF Oz walking down the yellow brick road all the way through.

saying that I felt angst for Beth as the fear grew & grew after losing Carmel at a book festival in Norfolk any mother would be heartbroken to lose a child & possibly never see her again.

as for Gramps & Dorothy I felt a chill up my spine every time they were in the dialogue the creepiness of the house where Carmel was kept with no electricity etc left my blood cold, also I just felt the story in some instances was far fetched & too much on the religious side of things. Therefore the premise was a bit over te top in certain areas which quite annoyed me & was hard to keep focus.

So to wrap it all up this for me was very mediocre read was quite bored at times fllowing the yellow brick road. 3 stars.
Profile Image for kostas  vamvoukakis.
420 reviews12 followers
January 27, 2019
Μεγάλη έκπληξη. ..καταπληκτική γραφή με τρομαχτική ταχύτητα. Χωρίς κανένα κλισέ. ..εναλλαγές συναισθημάτων αγωνία φόβος απογοήτευση και τέλος πραγματικά εκπληκτικό. ..Δεν περιγράφω άλλο
Profile Image for Christine.
831 reviews146 followers
March 8, 2015
This is an interesting debut and one that stands out because of the characterisation and voices of the two leads. Carmel is kidnapped at the age of eight, leaving her mother devastated. In a moment of confusion, Carmel is taken from a busy festival by a stranger. Carmel and the mother, Beth, are the characters we follow throughout the novel. Beth is a slightly neurotic woman, whose worst nightmare comes true. Carmel is an intriguing, intelligent little eight year old girl, with a strong survivor instinct.

This could have been a sad horror story. Yet it is strangely uplifting and incredibly well written. Beth learns to become stronger and less critical of her ex-partner. She seems to be a better person by the end of the book and has matured. We do see the pain she goes through and how she starts to cope. She seems to suffer more than Carmel. Carmel accepts the changes to her life, whereas as an adult, Beth goes through hell. And Carmel is just an incredible little girl, whose view on the world is refreshing and rather sweet.

Kate Hamer has done a great job in creating a believable and intense story and very genuine characters. An author to look out for.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my review copy!
Profile Image for Maria.
920 reviews104 followers
October 16, 2016
Sem querer avançar muito na história, porque assim o livro não faria sentido, gostei particularmente da forma como o mesmo está escrito.
O relato a duas vozes é fundamental para a compreensão da narrativa, causando momentos de grande angústia para quem o está a ler.
Apesar do final ser o esperado, o livro não perdeu o interesse.

Um livro que vende só pela capa. Extraordinária.

Opinião completa em: http://marcadordelivros.blogspot.com/...
Profile Image for Karen.
864 reviews476 followers
January 5, 2016
With a slightly different take on a ''missing child' story, Kate Hamer has produced a compelling and often heartbreaking tale of a mother trying to pick up the pieces of her life after her young daughter goes missing at a festival. The focus of the story is not on the police investigation but rather on the shattered life of Beth, the mother and on her missing daughter, Carmel Summer Wakeford.

8 year old Carmel is a dreamy child but she also has an independent and wilful streak and as much as her mother tries to keep her close, Carmel is pulling away. One day whilst at a festival and in a moment of distraction Carmel goes missing. Despite all efforts to find the little girl in a red coat, there is no sign of her and Beth is devastated.

The story is told from both the perspectives of Beth and Carmel from the same timeline. We see Beth at her very lowest when she struggling to function at all, however she never loses hope that her daughter will return. Carmel, however, has no idea of the torment her mother is going through and with her trusting nature believes a story that she has been told by her abductor and tries to come to terms with her new life. Even at such a young age, she knows that something is not quite right and is determined never to forget who she is; she writes her name wherever she can, carved onto a rock, or written in dust so that she will always remember

This is a poignant story of the relationship between mothers and daughters showing the loss felt by Beth and, in a different way, by Carmel as she has to carry on with her life without her mother.

This was an extremely well written story with some excellent characterisations; there were some that really got under my skin and gave me the creeps. Carmel’s young innocence was charming and she was a very easy character to love.

This very intense and moving debut kept me engrossed until the end. It isn't a bleak story at all but shows how strong the human spirit can be in enduring and coping. One of the most moving moments for me was the purchase of the red shoes. My only slight disappointment was with the ending; having made so such emotional investment into the lives of Beth and Carmel, I felt that the conclusion was rushed and I was left with unanswered questions.
Profile Image for Ingrid.
1,181 reviews46 followers
December 24, 2017
3.5 stars Easy to read, but the middle part is too long and some issues are too vague for me.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,405 reviews989 followers
November 25, 2014
So. I read this today. A couple of chapters over breakfast I said. That SO didnt work. An excellent read. Full review to follow, I'll be talking about this one in one of my "Spotlight 2015" features on the blog over December.
Profile Image for Kyle.
374 reviews545 followers
July 20, 2016
This book was an exercise in boredom. Truly, it took me quite a while to finish, and even after skimming a good majority of the finale.

You see, I thought this was to be a novel that would hook me from the get-go, and have me frantically turning pages until the very end. It was the opposite.

Where I enjoyed Carmel's observations of the world and the people in it, I also found it completely unrealistic that a goddamn 8-year-old would have such deep philosophical insight. It totally threw me from the moment she's introduced. I've never met a child that eloquent and dreamy before... especially at that age. I scream BULLSHIT! Also, she progressively became more annoying as the novel dragged on; for a girl so seemingly intelligent, she was certainly strung along quite easily, and never really made any huge effort to question her captors or try to escape.

Beth had a more interesting degeneration of self, but still remained a neurotic mess. Paul, the ex... I don't know. Sorely underwritten. He remains the cheating former partner with a hothead slinging accusations until he eventually becomes an ally again in Beth's eyes. Disgusting. I hated him, and I hated the fact the author deemed it necessary to cast him in a better light in the second half.

Speaking of, the latter half of the book was grueling. I won't get too much into it, but there I was thinking the first bit was boring, only to find myself woefully unprepared for the stagnant mess of the last 1/2 of the novel.

*Note* I'm just glad I found this book on the $1 cart outside the Strand on the streets of NYC. I would be kicking myself if I had payed full price for such drivel.

Final thoughts:
Unremarkable, forgettable, already moving on...
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
May 8, 2016
I think it is every parents worst nightmare to have their child taken from them. Do not know where they are, to always be wondering what you could have done different, And where your child can possibly be.
This book was very good, very different. I like how we saw this from both sides of the story. Carmel was taken from her mom and we saw her journey, and what a journey it was. We also saw the aftermath, how her parents coped with it, how they went on, something I personally would find impossible.
This book wasn't on your edge of the seat, what is going to happen next exciting, but it kept you involved and entry throughout the book.
Profile Image for Marta.
429 reviews8 followers
January 26, 2018
Ok je knjiga. Nije mi žao što sam ju pročitala. Iritirali su me skokovi sa majčine priče na djetetovu jer mi je bilo teško skužit ispočetka čiji tok misli slijedimo.
Profile Image for Book Riot Community.
953 reviews107k followers
February 17, 2016
A finalist for both the Costa First Book Award and the Dagger Award, The Girl in the Red Coat is a story of a mother's nightmare come true. Beth, a single mom, has always worried that one day her eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, would wander away from her and go missing. And then one day it actually happens. This is an intense, frantic thriller seen from both of their perspectives, as Beth searches for Carmel, and Carmel struggles to make sense of her harrowing new journey.

Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books: http://bookriot.com/category/all-the-...
Profile Image for Bill Kupersmith.
Author 1 book196 followers
April 22, 2016
Much of this book is set in an imaginary dystopia populated by imbecilic religious fanatics who eat in places called 'diners'. In the country where I live people eat @ Subway & Micky D's - just like in England.
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