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The Girl in the Red Coat Kindle Edition
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|Length: 338 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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As a parent, I have to admit that I didn’t find the initial part of the reading pleasant, always worried I would find out the ‘real reason’ Carmel had been abducted.
The things I liked:
1. The way that Beth’s vigilance around Carmel is pictured before her daughter goes missing.
2. Beth’s ongoing grief and self-blame, and her reaction to everyone’s blame, especially her ex-husband, Nick’s, once Carmel goes missing.
3. The way that Beth doesn’t go off to drown her sorrow by falling into some man’s arms, and that she eventually finds a constructive aim in life.
4. The female friendships between Carmel and Melody especially, but also Silver in the end.
The things that weighed the book down:
1. Carmel’s telling: I sigh very deeply when supposed 8-year-olds use long words, then try to explain how they know such a word because some adult has told them what it means, or has used it, or whatever… It’s such a storytelling device that makes me feel as the reader that the author is intruding in the story.
2. How the ‘grandfather’ just knows so much about her. That is never explained.
3. How the ‘grandfather’ even came to the small town and located Carmel is not convincingly told.
4. The repetitiousness of the itinerant lifestyle. I found the middle of the novel is a great soggy blob.
5. The lack of an explanation as to what led to the denouement: was it Nick’s private eye, the police efforts in the UK, Melody’s intervention, Carmel’s breadcrumb clues? Heck, even the police at the church gathering didn’t seek Carmel out! I won’t be reading any sequel to find out. There’s only so much juice you can wring from a story, and this story has all its juice wrung out already.
6. What happened to Mercy?
7. The lack of the ending for Beth and Carmel. There may be readers who like the author to leave the telling of the ending, for the reader to pick up the pieces. But as far as I’m concerned, the greatest authorly satisfaction would have been for Kate Hamer to write the emotions that play out at the end of this novel. Not doing so is a cop out. It was the opportunity to let the author’s juices flow and really get into the emotional resolution. No, there was none for the reader. Instead there is only a plot resolution, and that only barely just.
I did struggle to read the middle two-thirds of the book. I didn’t find the novel suspenseful, the only question keeping me turning the pages being: will Carmel and Beth be reunited?”
The story is well-written and interesting. The plot has some holes, in my opinion, but they didn't stop me from eagerly reading it.
The character of Carmel (the 8-year old girl) was far too mature in my opinion. Though she is described by her teachers as eccentric and special in a gifted way, I found her vocabulary and writing skills as an 8 or 9 year old a bit unrealistic, even for a child that is special.
Her mother (Helen) is very well developed and believable as a single mother trying to cope. Her husband left her for a younger woman and has not been a steady figure in Carmel's life. The girl's disappearance changes her relationship with her ex-husband and his new wife.
When Carmel disappears at a Story-Telling Fair, the details are very well done....why the older man wants her to come with him, how he convinces her to come with him, etc.
I appreciated little details in the story as you wonder if or when and how they might reunite. I don't want to give too many details away, but suffice it to say I thought they might reunite in a hospital.
I very rarely give a book five stars but I believe this author's next books might earn them!