||In ‘The Girl in the Red Coat’ documentary maker Kate Hamer has written an intriguing debut: with elements of a thriller, it is more an exploration of religious ideas, family ties and personal identity.
Inspired by fairy tales - as well as Hamer's discovery of an infamous ancestor who ran a cult - it is the story of an abducted girl - Carmel - told from the point of view of both her and her family.
When Carmel disappears the police comb every piece of evidence trying to discover who on earth might have snatched her. But the reader sees the story from Carmel’s eyes and know her abductors have been planning this meticulously for years. Her captor, pretending to be her estranged grandfather, believes Carmel has special powers and has taken her because he believes she should be doing the work of God. So begins Carmel’s extraordinary new life, struggling to keep her identity while ‘grandfather’ plans something quite different. But at home, neither her mother nor the police have ever given up on finding a lead that will lead them back to Carmel...
With plenty of themes to discuss, we think it would make a great bookgroup read.