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Monday, February 27, 2017

#CJSReads2017 REVIEW: The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer
Melville House

An absolutely beautiful and atmospheric read touching on fanatics, family relationships, spiritualism and what people will do to endure.  Highly recommended by all 3 of us, get your hands on this book and take the same journey we did.  It's worth the read.

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.

Jessica's Thoughts:
5 / 5 Stars

When I picked up this book, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I went into it hearing rave reviews, and I was not disappointed! This book is about newly single mom Beth and her one constant, gnawing worry: that her eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, who has a tendency to wander off, will one day go missing.

All of Beth's worst nightmares come true one day while they're at a popular outdoor festival. After being separated in the crowd, Beth is on the terrifying roller coaster that is trying to find her daughter. After a man claims he is her grandfather and that she needs to live with him for awhile (claiming her mother was in an accident).

Carmel is now in a situation that is keeping her on her toes and learning more about herself.

This book jumps between Beth and Carmel's perspectives. Which is a style of storytelling that I've always loved. It helps the story keep quick pace, and answers questions as you go. It's a slower build kind of thriller but it keeps you hooked the entire time!

I highly recommend this emotional ride of a thriller!

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Sam's Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars

Kate Hamer, although I struggle with the pace of her novels, is a master storyteller.    She has an uncanny ability to weave a plot and a narrative style that is downright enchanting. 

The novel is told in alternating chapters between mother, Beth and her eight-year-old daughter, Carmel.   After Carmel goes missing, kidnapped by a man claiming to be her grandfather, Beth must work through her own guilt and struggles with the hope of finding her daughter alive.    In the meantime, Carmel tries to adjust to her new life where she is called Mercy and is dragged along to religious conventions and healing ceremonies to share her “gifts”. 

I didn’t particularly feel as if this one fit in the category of “mystery”.  There isn’t much mystery to it.  We know immediately who has taken Carmel.  We are privy to the fact that he believes to be using her for religious gain and we know her whereabouts throughout the story.  Instead, with the Beth chapters as she searches for her daughter and Carmel’s worry and precocious nature, I felt as if this one could have been categorised as a contemporary drama.

This one ended up being a little long for my taste; call me a sucker for a fast-paced narrative but I have to admit, this one held my interest.  I was completely sucked into the plight of Carmel and her interactions with her fanatic captors.  

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My Thoughts:
5/ 5 Stars

As a single mom, Beth constantly worries about her daughter, Carmel - who is precocious and likes to wander off. She's afraid that one day Carmel will get lost and Carmel resents constantly being watched over all the time. But then one day Carmel does get lost during a festival that she wanted to go to. Thus begins the journey for both mother and daughter.

I'm not sure what I expected to get from this book, but what I ended up getting was more than I had bargained for in the best possible way. It's not the quintessential thriller you would expect - little girl goes missing, mom goes crazy. What it ends up being is a journey of both Carmen and of her mother. Told between both of their points of views from chapter to chapter, we see each go through a roller coaster of emotions, mental gymnastics and the process of them trying to deal with their new unexpected and unwanted situations. The author builds such an atmospheric read and really puts you in the mind of the of both child and mother. There's little dialogue and more narrative of surroundings, imaginations, emotions and the thought processes of both main protagonists. Extremely well written, beautiful prose and a compelling read that pulls at your heart strings. Highly recommend. 5 beautiful shining red stars.

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