The Girl in the Red Coat

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

Originality: ♥♥♥♥♥
Quality of Writing: ♥♥♥♥
Plot: ♥♥♥♥
Setting: ♥♥♥♥♥
Character: ♥♥♥♥♥
Overall: ♥♥♥♥

This is such a lyrical novel - but not in the annoying try-too-hard way, but in a really poignant way. 8 year old Carmel is kidnapped by a man who says she has special healing abilities. He convinces her that her mother has died and he is her mother's dad, that he will look after her now that she's alone. Distressed by the news of her mother's death, Carmel finds it difficult to cope with who she's becoming whilst she's under her grandfather's wings. The truth is that Carmel doesn't know that she's being used - her grandfather and his new partner take her to America where they make her perform at healing rituals as a means of making money. Meanwhile, at home, her mother, Beth, is slowly dying inside. The loss of her little girl has taken its toll and sometimes its as if the world has ended. But deep inside, she knows that her little girl is out there.

I love how the narrative is split in two - Beth's story at home, and Carmel's journey on the road. It's heart breaking, but at the same time it's very entertaining in the sense that it's a very different missing child plot. Carmel is such a strong and likeable character, and as she grows up its hard not to see that she's intelligent and kind. She develops a strong bond to her abductor (not that she knows that she's been abducted), you can see how human she is, yet how very special she is at the same time.

However, at the end I was left feeling disappointed. I wanted more. Why did it end there? WHY?! There's so much that the author did miss. Who was the other Mercy that was mentioned? What were Carmel's reactions when she found out the truth? How does she cope to life afterwards? So many things and it was left blank!

There's so much that could be re-written to make a better, more thrilling ending. However this isn't the main issue. I just wish it hadn't ended so abruptly. Will there be a sequel? In some ways I do hope so. If Hamer does write another book, let's hope she structures it better! Overall, 4 stars. 


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