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“Kate Hamer’s gripping debut novel immediately recalls the explosion of similarly titled books and movies, from Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, to The Girl on the Train to Gone Girl… What kicks The Girl in the Red Coat out of the loop of familiarity is Ms. Hamer’s keen understanding of her two central characters: Carmel and her devastated mother, Beth, who narrate alternating chapters… Both emerge as individuals depicted with sympathy but also with unsparing emotional precision.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
**Finalist for the Costa Book Award for First Novel**
**Finalist for the Dagger Award**
Newly single mom Beth has one constant, gnawing worry: that her dreamy eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, who has a tendency to wander off, will one day go missing.
And then one day, it happens: On a Saturday morning thick with fog, Beth takes Carmel to a local outdoor festival, they get separated in the crowd, and Carmel is gone.
Shattered, Beth sets herself on a grim and lonely mission to find her daughter, keeping on relentlessly even as the authorities tell her that Carmel may be gone for good.
Carmel, meanwhile, is on a strange and harrowing journey of her own—to a totally unexpected place that requires her to live by her wits, while trying desperately to keep in her head, at all times, a vision of her mother …
Alternating between Beth’s story and Carmel’s, and written in gripping prose that won’t let go, The Girl in the Red Coat—like Emma Donoghue’s Room and M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans—is an utterly immersive story that’s impossible to put down . . . and impossible to forget.
Are you reading The Girl in the Red Coat with your book group? Check out our reading group guide to get the conversation started.
*Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award
*Finalist for the Dagger Award
“Every sentence in Kate Hamer’s debut is so perceptive that you’re torn between wanting to linger on the thought and itching to learn what happens next…The taut plot alternates between Carmel’s emotional struggle to survive and Beth’s refusal to believe that her daughter is gone forever. Meanwhile, their complex yet unbreakable bond is rendered with honesty and love.”—Oprah.com
“Keeps the reader turning pages at a frantic clip . . . What’s most powerful here is not whodunnit, or even why, but how this mother and daughter bear their separation, and the stories they tell themselves to help endure it.” —Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You
“This stunning debut…has the propulsion of a thriller.” —People
“[A] spectacular debut … Telling the story in two remarkable voices, with Beth’s chapters unfurling in past tense and Carmel’s in present tense, the author weaves a page-turning narrative. The trajectories of the novel’s two leads—through despair, hope, and redemption—are believable and nuanced, resulting in a morally complex, haunting read.” —Publishers Weekly starred review
“Hamer’s book is a moving, voice-driven narrative. As much an examination of loss and anxiety as it is a gripping page-turner, it’ll appeal to anyone captivated by child narrators or analyses of the pains and joys of motherhood.” —Huffington Post
“Hamer’s lush use of language easily conjures fairy-tale imagery, especially of dark forests and Little Red Riding Hood. Although a kidnapped child is the central plot point, this is not a mystery but a novel of deep inquiry and intense emotions. Hamer’s dark tale of the lost and found is nearly impossible to put down and will spark much discussion.” —Booklist starred review
“Poignantly details the loss and loneliness of a mother and daughter separated…Fast-paced … Hamer beautifully renders pain, exactly capturing the evisceration of loss…Exquisite prose surrounding a mother and daughter torn apart.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Compulsively readable…Beautifully written and unpredictable…I had to stop myself racing to the end to find out what happened…Kate Hamer catches at the threads of what parents fear most—the abduction of a child—and weaves a disturbing and original story. There is menace in this book, lurking in the shadows on every page, but also innocence, love and hope.” —Rosamund Lupton, author of Sisters
“Gripping and sensitive—beautifully written, The Girl in the Red Coat is a compulsive, aching story full of loss and redemption.” —Lisa Ballantyne, author of The Guilty One
”The Girl in the Red Coat keeps the reader hooked—and awake into the small hours.” —Isabel Berwick, Financial Times
”Best read in a single sitting.” —Violet Henderson, Vogue
”Perceptive and moving…A brave, imaginative debut.” —Carla McKay, The Daily Mail
”Unexpected and moving.” —Marie Claire UK
”The Girl in the Red Coat is one of those rare literary beasts: beautifully written and yet utterly compulsive. Every page crackles with tension and while you race towards its conclusion, simultaneously you long to savour every page. Its portrayal of mother/daughter relationships is insightful, honest and raw without ever being sentimental or cloying. It is sure to be one of the debuts of the year.” —Hannah Beckerman, author of The Dead Wife’s Handbook
”An intense, and tense, stunning debut. Early on we encounter a maze, but the whole book is a kind of maze, and one full of striking imagery and chilling atmosphere.Kate Hamer conjures mystery with such grace, cool beauty and urgent suspense it never feels like a debut. Brilliant.” —Matt Haig, author of The Humans
”Thrillers about abducted children are hardly a fresh idea, but Kate Hamer’s debut novel may be the most original take on the subject since Ian McEwan’s The Child In Time…There is a surreal, fairytale-like quality to this unique and beguiling book.” —Sunday Express
“Page-turning yet beautifully written.” —Huffington Post
”Eschewing the more obvious police procedural, Hamer’s novel is instead interested in its protagonists’ psychological and emotional survival, in a way that at times recalls Emma Donoghue’s Man Booker-shortlisted Room. Returning throughout to themes of courage, compassion and healing, Hamer has produced a thoughtful, boldly imaginative page-turner that also dares to have a heart.” —Stephanie Cross, The Lady