A stunningly original debut that weaves a multitude of emotions throughout. Single parent Beth has a hard time keeping her daughter Carmel from randomly wandering off. Then, when Carmel is eight she really does get completely separated from her mother and is taken in by a ‘grandfather’ figure. Naturally one assumes the worst. He tells her that her mother has been hit by a car and is in hospital. He takes her to a derelict house in Wales and eventually tells her her mother is dead. Then he takes her to America and things get very weird. We stay with her and her first-person narrative up until she is thirteen. We see her mother during this period too and after a slow start we race into a gripping ending. The book is beautifully underwritten, intensely moving and very atmospheric. Highly recommended
Kate Hamer's debut novel The Girl in the Red Coat has made a big impression. It was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. It was described in The Guardian as 'a powerful tale of loss'.