Reviewed by Bethany Kelly
Are you a mother? A parent? If so, what is your worst nightmare? Mine is that something will happen to one of my children; whether it be that one of them goes missing or passes away. This is exactly what happens in The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer.
Beth, a newly divorced, single mother, is constantly fretting over her daughter, Carmel’s, daydreaming. What happens if her tendency to wander off leads to her getting lost…or worse, taken?
When Beth decides to take Carmel to a local festival, her worst fear comes true. Carmel and Beth are separated in the fog, and Carmel is taken.
This novel is written in two perspectives: Carmel’s and her mom’s. However, this novel is not the normal ‘whodunit’ thriller. Instead, it focuses on the bond between mother and daughter, and how each of them deals with being separated from one another.
Carmel’s sections focus solely on the new life she has after she is taken. She must get used to her new surroundings, the people in it, and the new sensations that she is feeling when she goes near sick people. Beth’s parts of the book are completely dedicated to the search for her daughter, and the guilt that she feels regarding her daughter’s disappearance.
When I first started reading this book, I was a little unnerved by the way that it was written. The chapters of the novel that are in Carmel’s point of view are written in the voice and tone of a child. This took me a couple of chapters to get used to, but once I did, I was pleased overall with how well it worked in regards to putting me inside Carmel’s mind. In other words, what started out as a negative, became a huge positive for me.
I absolutely loved the subject of this book. I liked that it didn’t focus on the who, but that it focused on the why, and then how everyone handled the situation. I was also quite pleased with the ending. I do not want to say much more because I don’t want to give the ending away, but I thought that it ended perfectly.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. Not because it is comparable to any of the popular thrillers out right now (because it’s not), but because it is a book that is completely different. It is a brand new take on a popular subject to write about.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking. Check out her website at www.bckwritingcorner.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Melville House. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.