Every mother’s worst nightmare is to lose their child. Beth always worries over her dreamy daughter Carmel and is afraid that she will disappear. After her recent divorce, Beth is feeling angry about life and overprotective. One day while at a fair, a deep sea fog rolls in separating Carmel and Beth . . . and Beth cannot find Carmel anywhere. Beth’s worst nightmare is realized when days and weeks go by without Carmel’s return.
The novel switches point of view between Beth and Carmel. Beth tries to rebuild her life, never giving up hope that she will someday find Carmel. Carmel is on an adventure of her own, not knowing that her mother is still alive and on the hunt for her, even though deep inside, she doesn’t believe her mother is dead.
I really enjoyed this novel. It is a slow burn thriller that is more about the relationship of a mother and a daughter and how being separated can change that relationship over time. I did spend a lot of time wondering why Carmel had been kidnapped and if Beth and Carmel would ever be reunited. The novel does not disappoint and leads you through the entire story with a satisfying ending.
As a mother, I loved reading Beth’s point of view. The entirety of her emotions from frantic and scared, blaming herself, and then ever hopeful that she would see Carmel again seemed real to me. I also loved her growth as a woman to accept that her marriage had failed and to even find friendship with her ex-husband and his partner and to rekindle her tumultuous relationship with her own parents.
I thought Carmel’s story also seemed realistic for what a girl in her situation would be feeling. I don’t want to go too much into it and ruin the book for someone else, but she has been caught up with people who are in a religious fervor. That also seemed sadly too real to me as well and disturbing how they would use a child with a “gift” for their own means. For those that have read the book, I still am wondering what happened to the first Mercy? I wish we would have gotten a definite conclusion on that point.
I love the first line of this novel: “I dream about Carmel often. In my dreams she’s always walking backwards.”
Overall, The Girl in the Red Coat is a slow burn thriller that delves deep into the emotions of a mother and a daughter that are living through a traumatic kidnapping.
Book Source: I received a copy of this book as part of the TLC Book Tour. Thank-you!