The Girl in The Red Coat
An Amazon Best Book of the Year for 2016
Costa Book Award finalist
Dagger Award finalist
An 'ELLE' Lettres Readers' Prize Winner
British Book Industry Award Finalist.
'This stunning debut...has the propulsion of a thriller.'
'Hamer's book is a moving, voice-driven narrative. As much an examination of loss and anxiety as it is a gripping page-turner, it ll appeal to anyone captivated by child narrators or analyses of the pains and joys of motherhood.'
'Riveting. Worth the hype.'
'[A]spectacular debut Telling the story in two remarkable voices, with Beth's chapters unfurling in past tense and Carmel's in present tense, the author weaves a page-turning narrative. The trajectories of the novel's two leads through despair, hope, and redemption are believable and nuanced, resulting in a morally complex, haunting read.'
Publishers Weekly, starred review
'Reading this novel is a test of how fast you can turn pages.'
Library Journal, starred review
'Poignantly details the loss and loneliness of a mother and daughter separated...Fast-paced ... Hamer beautifully renders pain, exactly capturing the evisceration of loss...Exquisite prose surrounding a mother and daughter torn apart.'
'Keeps the reader turning pages at a frantic clip... What's most powerful here is not whodunnit, or even why, but how this mother and daughter bear their separation, and the stories they tell themselves to help endure it'.
Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You
'Compulsively readable . . . Beautifully written and unpredictable . . . I had to stop myself racing to the end to find out what happened . . . Kate Hamer catches at the threads of what parents fear most--the abduction of a child--and weaves a disturbing and original story. There is menace in this book, lurking in the shadows on every page, but also innocence, love, and hope.'
Rosamund Lupton, Sister
'Both gripping and sensitive -- beautifully written, it is a compulsive, aching story full of loss and redemption.'
Lisa Ballantyne, The Guilty One
'Every sentence in Kate Hamer's debut is so perceptive that you're torn between wanting to linger on the thought and itching to learn what happens next...The taut plot alternates between Carmel's emotional struggle to survive and Beth's refusal to believe that her daughter is gone forever. Meanwhile, their complex yet unbreakable bond is rendered with honesty and love.'
'Kate Hamer's gripping debut novel immediately recalls the explosion of similarly titled books and movies, from Stieg Larsson s "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and its sequels, to "The Girl on the Train" to "Gone Girl " What kicks "The Girl in the Red Coat" out of the loop of familiarity is Ms. Hamer s keen understanding of her two central characters: Carmel and her devastated mother, Beth, who narrate alternating chapters Both emerge as individuals depicted with sympathy but also with unsparing emotional precision.'
The New York Times
'Hamer's lush use of language easily conjures fairy-tale imagery, especially of dark forests and Little Red Riding Hood. Although a kidnapped child is the central plot point, this is not a mystery but a novel of deep inquiry and intense emotions. Hamer's dark tale of the lost and found is nearly impossible to put down and will spark much discussion.'
Booklist, starred review
THE DOLL FUNERAL
'A sensuous retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
Kate Hamer's sentences are like miniature portraits: vivid arrangements of words that conjure up place with a magicians legerdemain. This, her second novel, is sent in the Forest of Dean, which comes alive under her pen and luxuriates in its strangeness'.
Sarah Crowe, The Sunday Telegraph
'Hamer's ability to conjure an atmosphere is certainly powerful. Particularly resonant is her portrait of the beauty and menace of the Forest of Dean'.
Rebecca Nicholson, The Sunday Times.
'What holds the novel together is the tremendous momentum of the story itself, which gathers pace with every page, hooking you into its strangeness and keeping you hooked until the very last word. As an exploration of the hold exerted on us by the past, The Doll Funeral is entirely successful, and for Ruby, the call of the dead ultimately brings understanding'.
Rebecca Abrams, Financial Times.
'Written with poetic lightness, it's as compelling as it is unsettling'.
Sarah Hughes, Heat Magazine
'Her writing is as a vivid, nasty and beautiful as a bruise'.
Claire Allfree, Metro.
'Hamer writes with great skill and emotional depth - about the confusions of adolescence and identity, the bond between mothers and daughters and the redemptive power of love'.
Hannah Beckerman, Observer.
BBC Radio 4 Open Book - editors Pick 29th Jan
Bookseller - Book on the Month Feb 17
Hamer (The Girl in the Red Coat, 2015) has created a mystical world in which characters are haunted by specters of their present as well as their past, by the living and the lost. Her diction is lovely and tangible; describing the heightening frequency of Ruby’s experiences with specters, she writes, “the skin of this world was thinning hour by hour so you could look through it like the papery bit of an onion.”
A powerful paranormal novel.
'A haunting story of love, loss, family and friendships as told by the ethereal Ruby, a teenager who inhabits the past and the present. Hamer's novel of ghosts bound with the living tells a tale which captivates and draws you into her lyrical world.'
Lisa Ballantyne, Redemption Road, The Guilty one.
'There is a magical dream-like quality to Kate Hamer's second novel, which reminded me of Kate Atkinson's early novels...The Doll Funeral is the story of a separated mother and daughter, and the last line is heart-stoppingly beautiful'.
Alice O'Keeffe, The Bookseller
'Kate Hamer's writing is unique and beautiful. The Doll Funeral is a haunting, mesmerising read'.
Rosamund Lupton, Sister, The Quality of Silence
'The Doll Funeral is a compelling follow up to The Girl in the Red Coat, a dark and at times heartbreaking story of loss and belonging, in a haunting setting; Hamer is a superb stylist'.
Lucy Atkins, The Night Visitor
'(Hamer's) fascination with the thresholds between childhood and adulthood, sanity sand insanity, chosen and blood families, and her subtle understanding of the clean, often disturbing logic of childhood morality, evoke both jeanette Winterson and Ian McEwan... This is an elegiac and uplifting novel about the indisuluble bond between mothers and daughters and a reminder of how the imagination can set you free.'
Melanie McGrath, Guardian
'I felt instantly protective of Ruby; the teenager with a secret so chilling I had to check the front door was locked. Hamer's brilliant storytelling made me read on for fear Ruby's fate depended on it.
Anna Silverman, Grazia
'A dark and magical story, with a dash of the paranormal that swept me away'.
Fanny Blake, Woman & Home
Boundaries of forest and psyche.
'Kate Hamer’s piercingly sad, engrossing novel is a modern fairy tale.
An orphan finds out that the perfectly dreadful people who raised her aren’t her biological parents and so embarks on a search to find her real ones ... the orphan is a British girl named Ruby with a port wine stain on her face and a talent that truly sets her apart—she sees dead people.
Ruby finds a surrogate family in the woods: three teenage siblings, not orphaned but abandoned ... One of the kids has a secret, the nature of which is such that when it’s revealed, readers may go back to the earlier chapters to look for clues.
In The Doll Funeral, the relations of parents and children are not only difficult but impossible. There isn’t a single parent/child relationship that works ... Yet despite the grief all of this entails, Hamer’s novel reminds the reader that family does not necessarily mean blood, and love and connection are possible. For a girl like Ruby, they transcend death itself.'
BookPage August 2017
Chicago review of books August 2017
After Kate Hamer’s debut novel, The Girl in the Red Coat, won multiple awards and received an abundance of hype, her follow-up novel had a high bar to reach… her second novel, The Doll Funeral, is so captivating that … it surpasses all expectations.