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“[Evokes] both Jeanette Winterson and Ian McEwan . . . an elegiac and uplifting novel about the indissoluble bonds between mothers and daughters, and a reminder of how the imagination can set you free.” — The Guardian
On Ruby’s thirteenth birthday, a wish she didn’t even know she had suddenly comes true: the couple who raised her aren’t her parents at all. Her real mother and father are out there somewhere, and Ruby becomes determined to find them.
Venturing into the forest with nothing but a suitcase and the company of her only true friend—the imaginary Shadow Boy—Ruby discovers a group of siblings who live alone in the woods. The children take her in, and while they offer the closest Ruby’s ever had to a family, Ruby begins to suspect that they might need her even more than she needs them. And it’s not always clear what’s real and what’s not—or who’s trying to help her and who might be a threat.
Told from shifting timelines, and the alternating perspectives of teenage Ruby; her mother, Anna; and even the Shadow Boy, The Doll Funeral is a dazzling follow-up to Kate Hamer’s breakout debut, The Girl in the Red Coat, and a gripping, exquisitely mysterious novel about the connections that remain after a family has been broken apart.
About the Author
Kate Hamer is the author of The Girl in the Red Coat, which was a Costa First Novel Award finalist, a Dagger Award finalist, an Amazon Best Book of the Year 2016 and a winner of the ELLE Lettres Readers’ Prize. She lives in Cardiff, Wales, with her husband and two children.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
“Hamer 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 . . A powerful paranormal novel.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS
“[Hamer’s] fascination with the thresholds between childhood and adulthood, sanity and 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 indissoluble bonds between mothers and daughters and a reminder of how the imagination can set you free.” —Melanie McGrath, THE 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
“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 to the very last word.” —Rebecca Abrams, FINANCIAL TIMES
"A moving and mesmeric story... beautifully written, The Doll Funeral brims with a delightful, riveting strangeness." SHELF AWARENESS, starred review
Praise for The Girl in the Red Coat
“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.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“This stunning debut . . . has the propulsion of a thriller.”—Kim Hubbard, People
“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.” —Dawn Raffel, Oprah.com
“Keeps the reader turning pages at a frantic clip . . . What’s most powerful here is not whodunit, or even why, but how this mother and daughter bear their separation, and the stories they tell themselves to help endure it.” —Celeste Ng, The Guardian “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.” —Huffington Post “Riveting. Worth the hype.” —Book Riot
“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, author of Sisters “Gripping and sensitive—beautifully written, The Girl in the Red Coat is a compulsive, aching story full of loss and redemption.” —Lisa Ballantyne, author of The Guilty One
“[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
“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
“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.” —Kirkus Reviews “Reading this novel is a test of how fast you can turn pages.” —Library Journal, starred review