The Girl in the Red Coat
by Kate Hamer
Melville House, 2016. 336 pgs. Fiction.
Eight-year-old Carmel has a tendency to slip away from her mother, but she has always been easily found before. One foggy morning at a children’s festival, however, Beth and Carmel become separated. When the mist clears, Carmel is missing. As Beth searches endlessly for her daughter and tries to reconstruct her own life, Carmel endures a bizarre and transient existence with her new “family.”
I’ve heard The Girl in the Red Coat compared to The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, but it didn’t seem nearly as intense as those reads to me. From the beginning, you know what has happened to Carmel, and she doesn't seem to be in immediate danger. Instead of writing a thriller, author Kate Hamer has chosen to beautifully explore the emotions of the separated mother and child. Because of this, fans of Room or The Lovely Bones are likely to enjoy this debut novel.
I found it hard to put down and finished reading in only a couple of days. My only complaint is that I would have liked more, since the ending left me terribly curious about the aftermath.