I was pleasantly surprised by Kate Hamer’s debut novel, The Girl in the Red Coat. I picked up the novel because I was looking for a beach read – and it certainly delivered.
The book’s premise is not new. During a fair near their home in England, a dreamy young girl named Carmel wanders away from her mother and is kidnapped by a deranged religious zealot. Told in alternating chapters, Carmel and her mother Beth describe the trials that they face in the years following the kidnapping. Beth questions her parenting, tries to reconcile with her ex-husband, and interrogates her belief from Carmel’s birth that they were destined to lose each other. Meanwhile, Carmel wanders rural America with “Grandad,” who works as an itinerant preacher. He tells Carmel that her mother is dead and that she is a divine creature who can heal the afflicted.
Although the story itself is not spectacular, the voices of both Carmel and Beth shine. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast-paced summer read.
Availability: USMAI, COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Kaitlyn Grigsby
Challenge: Book published in 2016