The girl in the red coat by Kate Hamer

The Girl in the Red Coat

Author: Kate Hamer

Publisher: Faber&Faber

Published: 26th February 2015

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

Source: Library

Date read:2nd May 2016


Synopsis from Goodreads:


She 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 become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift…

While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is – and who she might become.

My thoughts:

This book is every parent/guardians worst nightmare! This book made me feel anxious and sick at how realistic this is. For my daughter to be the same age as Carmel is just terrifying to me. This story line will definitely bring out your emotions even if you are not a parent.  The premise was what drew me towards reading this book, child abduction is something that we will see on the news occasionally and something that could happen to anyone.

Carmel Wakeford is 8 years old and intelligent for her age, recently Carmel has been “Away with the Fairies” and occasionally wanders off. Beth (Carmel’s mother) is on constant edge when they visit a children’s festival, so much so they Carmel becomes agitated by her mothers clingyness that she decides to remove herself from her mothers grasp just for a while. When Carmel returns to the spot her mother is no where to be seen,  a grey haired man appears and introduces himself as Carmel’s grandfather. With never actually meeting her grandfather before and him knowing her parents, she believes him when he tells her that her mother has been in an accident and he is there to look after her. Beth is frantically searching for her daughter realising her worst fear is becoming a reality.

The book is told from two alternating point of views, Beth and Carmel’s.  Though this is a crime book, it is not told from the investigation perspective as we are used to, it’s more of the mother/father/family/child’s suffering. Hamer has captured the emotions of the mother really well with feeling guilty and the grieving process and I could feel her despair and knew if I was in the same position I would be feeling exactly the same way. I enjoyed reading from Carmel’s perspective, it’s interesting when the author writes as a child  it needs to come across realistically which Hamer managed to pull off.

I found this story to be quite slow even with the alternating POV’s and some parts I was bored but I continued reading as I needed to know what happened to Carmel. The ending all seemed to be a bit rushed and left things unexplained. The writing was really good and packed full of emotion.

This is a great debut novel from Kate Hamer and would be interested in reading her future work.

Overall I rated this 3.5 out of stars



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