Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer

Hi, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Kate Hamer's latest, The Doll Funeral.

Ruby is thirteen when she finds out she's adopted. 

Her home life isn't great. Her father is abusive and her mother is the only thing that stands between Ruby and his ever present anger. So when things get too bad, Ruby takes off. She heads into the woods in hopes of finding her birth parents. With her best friend, Shadow, alongside her, Ruby settles with a family of siblings living in the Forest of Dean. With a real family, finally, it looks as though things have started to change for the better for Ruby. But as time passes, she isn't so certain this is the case anymore. 

The Doll Funeral is kind of a strange read. Ruby is an imaginative girl and it isn't always clear what's real and what isn't. This aspect adds a level of almost magical realism to the tale. I say almost, because it's not quite that, just bordering on it. It's the kind of book that really blends and melds aspects of multiple genres to create a story that defies easy labeling.

The story alternates between Ruby's perspective, her birth mother, Anna, and Ruby's friend Shadow. Anna's story begins in 1970, Ruby's begins in 1983, and Shadow's pieces are told alongside Ruby's. Shadow in particular adds another strange element to the novel. He seems to be a spirit drawn to Ruby...

Throughout the tale, there's this great underlying sense of mystery and even dread. And Ruby's story is dark, to be sure, again she's a child in an abusive home - that's dark enough. But the woods, the kids hiding out in the woods, Shadow... This underlying darkness, the kind you'd see in gothic fiction or even a fairy tale, never overwhelms the story, but it's there the whole time, giving the story shadowy corners and things seen from the corner of the eye.

The narrative really does pull you along as a reader. The strange blending of genres, the wonderful atmosphere Hamer threads throughout the story, and short, clipped chapters make the book more accessible than you might think. And it makes the story move along rather quickly as well. Plus, Ruby is an endearing character who you want to see get some sort of happily ever after resolution.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Kate Hamer and her work you can visit her website here. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour!