If you’re looking for a beautifully written piece of fiction, then your search is over – you need look no further than The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer. After reading and loving Hamer’s debut novel, The Girl in the Red Coat, I was chomping at the bit to read this one!
From the back cover:
My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They’re not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I’m supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.
But there are things I won’t say. I won’t tell them I’m going to hunt for my real parents. I don’t say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.
I did tell Mick that I saw the woman in the buttercup dress, hanging upside down from her seat belt deep in the forest at the back of our house. I told him I saw death crawl out of her. He said he’d give me a medal for lying.
I wasn’t lying. I’m a hunter for lost souls and I’m going to be with my real family. And I’m not going to let Mick stop me.
The Doll Funeral is a dark tale; it tells the story of 13 year old Ruby (from the 1st person perspective) as she searches for her real parents. Set in 1983, Ruby can often be found in the forest with Shadow, a lost soul, close by, for Ruby is no ordinary little girl, she can see death. The storyline jumps back to the 1970’s occasionally, a narrative that tells us how Ruby came to be in her current situation. The story flows beautifully, the two narratives fit together perfectly.
There’s something so special about the way Hamer writes, you can’t help but adore Ruby, you just want to take her home and care for her. You don’t read this book, you feel it! Less than a 100 pages in and this story had already worked its way into my heart – the pace of this book is fairly slow but you just feel this compulsion to read on, like the fate of Ruby is in your hands – you must keep reading so she will be okay. This is the same feeling, albeit not as strong, that I experienced when reading Hamer’s previous book.
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘there’s so much beauty in pain’? You feel Ruby’s pain, her hopes, her wants; Hamer allows us to feel it all and that’s due to her uniquely beautiful writing style.
The story itself isn’t too complex, it’s a story that may not appeal to everyone, in the sense that the pace is slow and there’s not heaps of ‘action’, the tension builds throughout the book, but the tension is below the surface and that’s what creates the compelling feeling of needing to read on. Hamer’s writing style, however, should appeal to the masses – it’s so dark yet so beautiful, it makes my heart ache.
Without a doubt, Kate Hamer knows how to use the right sentence structure, to put the right words in the right order to give you all the feels. The Doll Funeral is a great follow up novel to The Girl in the Red Coat and has secured Hamer a place as one of my favourite authors!
*My Thanks to Sophie Portas at Faber & Faber for providing me with a review copy of this book*
This book is available to pre-order (release date 16/02/17) now from: Amazon UK
I couldn’t not say a bit more about The Girl in the Red Coat, if you haven’t already, read it while you’re waiting for the release of The Doll Funeral.
From the back cover:
Eight-year-old Carmel has always been different – sensitive, distracted, with an heart stopping tendency to go missing. Her mother Beth, newly single, worries about her daughter’s strangeness, especially as she is trying to rebuild a life for the two of them on her own.
When she takes Carmel for an outing to a local festival, her worst fear is realised: Carmel disappears into the crowd. Unable to accept the possibility that her daughter might be gone for good, Beth embarks on a mission to find her. Meanwhile, Carmel begins an extraordinary and terrifying journey of her own. But do the real clues to Carmel’s disappearance lie in the otherworldly qualities her mother had only begun to guess at?
I read this book in one sitting, I was hooked from beginning to end! Reading about Carmel’s extraordinary journey, but also Beth’s journey of having to cope with life after her daughter went missing, was intense, I was emotionally invested in this story. As time passed and Carmel was still missing, I was hoping and willing for mother and daughter to be reunited; it was like I needed to keep reading because I needed them to be together again. (originally posted on Goodreads in May 2016)
This book is available to buy now from: Amazon UK