She is the missing girl. But she doesn't know she's lost.
Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children's festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift...
While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is - and who she might become.
British single mother Beth knows her eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, has a tendency to wander at a local corn maze, on school trips but one foggy day, the girl vanishes at a local festival and cannot be found. A man who claims to be Carmel's grandfather convinces her that Beth has been in a terrible accident, so Carmel leaves the fairgrounds with him and winds up at a secluded home with the man and his female companion, Dorothy. As Beth frantically searches and slowly isolates herself from the outside world, Carmel is told after careful manipulation that her mother has died, and soon finds herself in America with her new "grandparents," who work as spiritualist healers. Carmel fights to remember her past, but as time passes and she crisscrosses the country, her old life begins to fade. It takes everything in her to remember her name, her address, and her parents. Hamer's spectacular debut skillfully chronicles the nightmare of child abduction. 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.