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2022 Literary Escapes Challenge

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2022 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge

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2022 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

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2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge

2022 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Abduction Novel Quietly Suspenseful, Unsettling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Keeping track of her "dreamy" daughter has always been something of a challenge for Beth Wakeford.  Now that she's newly divorced, she's even more worried that something will happen to Carmel, an 8-year-old who's easily distracted.  When her nightmare comes true during a trip to an outdoor festival, Beth is frantic with worry.  Has Carmel just wandered off in a daze?  Or has something sinister happened to the capricious child?  As hours, then days and months, go by without a sighting of the little girl, the police assume the worst.  Undeterred, Beth vows to find her missing child, in whose death she refuses to believe.  

When Carmel is first led away from the fairgrounds, she's delighted at the prospect of a novel adventure.  Soon, though, she realizes that things are not what they seem and that the likelihood of her being returned to her mother is slim to none.  As Carmel slowly comes to grips with her new reality, she longs desperately for her mum.  But as the years pass, memories fade, and some children forget who they really are ...

The Girl in the Red Coat, a debut novel by Welsh author Kate Hamer, tells a quietly unsettling story about every parent's worst nightmare coming to pass.  It's a compelling tale that kept me riveted throughout.  Although the reader knows what's happening (sort of) to Carmel from the get-go, the plot remains suspenseful because of its over-arching question:  Will Beth and Carmel ever be reunited?  As mother and daughter are both sympathetic narrators, the reader can't help but root for them ... but will they get the happily ever after they both desire?  Nothing is for certain in this disquieting novel.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Disappearance of James by Anne Ursu)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives), mild sexual content, violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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