Joi's Reviews > The Girl in the Red Coat

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer
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I read this for a challenge that included reading a Costa Nominee or Winner. After I promptly googled 'Costa Awards' since I'd never heard of them, I scanned the most recent nominees and landed on the one that had an intriguing cover- and subsequently had a 'girl' in the title. Costa Awards are for outstanding books from the UK and Ireland. Despite that fact- this didn't seem 'foreign' to me. It ended up being a weird mix of psychological thriller, retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and some Elizabeth Smart-esque kidnapping all rolled into one.

This book bounces between narratives of Beth, a loving mother, and her daughter Carmel- who is "kidnapped" by her fake estranged grandfather who claims her mother has died. The double narrative is used a lot these days, but it helps the story progress. In this case it's used wisely to develop characters and individuals over series of time. I thought Beth's narrative was very true to character, there is obviously some research done on parents of missing children. Caramel starts out as 8 when she is kidnapped. I thought her voice seemed a little mature for being so young. When there is dialogue and she actually speaks you can hear her naivete, and obviously the plot line shows her innocence. But her inner thoughts seemed more wise and that juxtaposed with how she was acting.

I was pretty gung-ho and ready to give this 4 stars towards the beginning. It's a bit slow moving, but takes a different perspective than most mystery thrillers. The writing is strong. Kudos for a 'girl' book actually being about a girl versus a woman. But as the book progressed, it got weirder and weaker. 'Gramps' who kidnaps Caramel delves into weird religious tirades that I'm not sure if they were supposed to be in his head- or magical realism? That's where the Elizabeth Smart-ness came in for me. Weird religion clut-ish beliefs impressed onto Caramel- but her 'healing powers' worked and were semi-real? Then the ending knocked it down a full star because it left so many unanswered questions.

Overall, I enjoyed Hamer's writing. I'd read another one of her works. This was her debut after all, she has lot's of time to improve on the things I didn't enjoy as much. The thing is- I think all the things I didn't like I feel like the writer did on purpose. Leaving me with a in-the-middle 3 star rating.

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Reading Progress

December 31, 2016 – Started Reading
December 31, 2016 – Shelved
January 3, 2017 –
page 311
January 4, 2017 – Finished Reading

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