The Girl in the Red Coat

The Girl in the Red Coat

Librarian note: An alternative cover for this edition can be found hereShe is the missing girl. But she doesn't know she's lost.Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children's festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days...

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Title:The Girl in the Red Coat
Author:Kate Hamer
Rating:
ISBN:0571313248
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:384 pages

The Girl in the Red Coat Reviews

  • Beadyjan
    Nov 18, 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 mos

    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

    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.

  • Jane
    Mar 05, 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

    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:

    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.

    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.

  • Duddimai
    Mar 28, 2015

    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.

  • Michael
    Apr 27, 2015

    My initial impression of this book after reading the blurb was that it would be an intense thriller. While this premise did not materialize, what i got was an intriguing take on the whole 'girl goes missing' theme. The story goes of 8 year old Carmel Wakeford, who goes missing from her mother, Beth, at a local children's festival. Carmel would be taken by a man who claims to be her grandfather. He will tell her that her mother had a terrible accident and her father who does not live with her mot

    My initial impression of this book after reading the blurb was that it would be an intense thriller. While this premise did not materialize, what i got was an intriguing take on the whole 'girl goes missing' theme. The story goes of 8 year old Carmel Wakeford, who goes missing from her mother, Beth, at a local children's festival. Carmel would be taken by a man who claims to be her grandfather. He will tell her that her mother had a terrible accident and her father who does not live with her mother, does not wish to look after.

    With the man who claims to be her gramps, his girlfriend Dorothy and her two twin girls, Carmel refuses to believe she will not be reunited with her mother until she is told of her demise. In the following weeks, it becomes clear to the highly intelligent Carmel that her gramps believes she has a special gift and that she is a spiritual saviour. Over the months and years to come she will taken to many places to heal people while using the power of Christ. She will find it hard to keep perspective on who she really is and what she will become in the future.

    Her mother on the other hand will go through her own personal hell not knowing what has happened to her little girl. With the help of her ex husband Paul and his new partner, she will try and move on with her life while never giving up the hope that one day she and her daughter will be back together. With a new job and car, Beth knows that it is for the best and with the police updates proving themselves to be one false hope after another and as the months turn into years she can only hope for a miracle.

    I think this book would be stretching it to be called a thriller. What it does provide is fascinating insight into the relationship between a mother and a daughter during lengthy separation. there is strong feelings of love, faith, hope and connections. I also find it interesting that although Carmel was not physically or sexually abused she was ill-treated by having religious overtures and responsibility forced on her and being denied the maternal love of her mother. Featuring believable and compelling characters that complement a well written and highly engaging story, The Girl in the Red Coat is well worth a read for anyone who enjoys unique and original reads.

  • Fictionophile
    Sep 10, 2015

    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 e

    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:

    Also, I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY of this novel. Visit my blog for instructions to enter.

  • Wendy Darling
    Dec 09, 2015

    Kept my interest, but ended up being underwhelming and unsatisfying on every level.

  • Megan Johnson
    Jan 30, 2016

    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 d

    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.

    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!

    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.

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  • Linda O'Donnell
    Mar 08, 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 i

    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.

  • Maria
    Oct 05, 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:

  • Eve
    Jan 15, 2017

    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

    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.