The Doll Funeral

Welsh author Kate Hamer thrilled the literary world with her gripping debut, The Girl in the Red Coat. With her follow-up, the lyrical and neo-gothic The Doll Funeral, she continues to astonish. Told from three points of view--those of 13-year-old Ruby, her mother, Anna, and the ghostly Shadow Boy--Hamer's novel opens in a modest house in the Forest of Dean, on Ruby's birthday. Her parents tell her that she's not their biological daughter, that she arrived on their doorstep when she was very young and not long after the death of their own small child. Having been beaten repeatedly by her father--and neglected by her mother--Ruby is elated by the news, and with the help of Shadow Boy, her constant companion that only she can see, vows to find her birth parents.

What follows is a moving and mesmeric story about one girl's search for the truth in a world where nothing is quite as it seems and no one is who they at first appear to be. Adding to the mystery of her parents' whereabouts is Ruby's uncertain grasp of reality. At times, the people she meets seem barely of this earth, with their bone-white skin and hollowed faces. Shadow Boy, for instance, moves through the air as if made of literal shadows, and events Ruby swears she witnessed first-hand prove never to have taken place. Quick-paced and beautifully written, The Doll Funeral brims with a delightful, riveting strangeness. --Amy Brady, freelance writer and editor

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