Eight-year-old Carmel has a tendency to wander. This in spite of her mother's efforts otherwise. So when they attend the storytelling festival Beth is cautious and careful to hold Carmel's hand at all times and keep a close eye on her. But when a fog rolls in and Carmel gets a little too excited about the booksellers' tent, Beth loses sight of her long enough for disaster to strike.
Carmel hides out under a table to read, vowing to come out when she catches sight of her mother's shoes. Unfortunately she loses herself in the book and emerges to find her mother is nowhere near. And then a man approaches her claiming to be the grandfather she's never met, telling her that her mother has been in a terrible accident...
Oh, wow. This is a terrifying premise and a hard book to read. Honestly, if I had kids I'm not sure I'd have been able to get through this one at all!
Kate Hamer's debut is a powerful and highly emotional read. Chapters alternate between Beth and Carmel, offering readers a look at a mother plagued by guilt and mourning the loss of her child all the while hoping beyond hope for her return, and the child herself and the life she's living alongside her abductors.
Beth and her family aren't close. Carmel has never met her grandparents and admits that during a q&a session at the festival, making it that much easier for her kidnapper to get his plan underway. But as it turns out this isn't a random kidnapping at all. That particular thread of the story was, admittedly, quite intriguing but the how and why of the kidnapping aren't the story here. Instead, the focus of The Girl in the Red Coat is the aftermath of the crime - the psychological effects in particular. That guilt Beth feels over losing Carmel in the first place, the layers and layers of lies Carmel's kidnappers add to her story, it all weighs so heavily on the characters, shaping them and changing them as more and more time passes.
I won't tell you how their story ends, that would be giving away too much. I will tell you, though, that this is another one you won't be able to put down until you get through to the end - so don't you dare make the mistake I did and crack this one open at 11 pm!
As part of the tour today, I do have one copy to offer up in a giveaway. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, March 28. Open US/Canada only and no PO boxes please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here. For more on Kate Hamer, you can follow her on Twitter.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble