Sarah at Crooked Lane Books invited me to take part in the Blog Tour for Little Darlings, and because I enjoyed The Psychology of Time Travel (also published by Crooked Lane Books) I gladly accepted the offer. Here’s my spoiler-free review for one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read.
About The Book
Title: Little Darlings
Author: Melanie Golding
Expected Publication: April 30, 2019
Genre: Adult Psychological Thriller/Mystery
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Grimms’ Fairy Tales.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking―and rechecking―your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.
I’d like to start by talking about the child-birth scene because I feel like this needs a trigger warning for mothers who’ve had an intense or scary child-birth, and pregnant women or new moms. My first birth was similar to the one in this story and I had a really hard time reading it. I’m glad I pushed through because Little Darlings is honestly one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read in my entire life. I don’t often re-read books but this is one I definitely want to read again at some point.
Inspired by the Welsh fairy tale called The Brewery of Eggshells, Little Darlings takes place in Peak District, UK. Patrick and Lauren are expecting twin boys. After a difficult childbirth, Lauren is alone in the hospital room when a disheveled woman visits her. The woman is singing creepy songs and attempts to abduct Lauren’s babies. When DS Jo Harper arrives at work the next morning she sees the emergency call made by Lauren on the list of closed cases from the night before. Acting on a hunch, Harper visits Lauren in hospital, and although the hospital nurses and doctors have said that Lauren was hallucinating, the detective believes Lauren’s story. Against her supervisor’s wishes, Jo acquires the CCTV footage of the hospital hallway outside Lauren’s room. At the time of Lauren’s 999 call there are strange shadows on the floor of the video. Her boss won’t allow Jo to send the tape for further scrutiny, claiming that the case was already picked up by the mental health workers at the hospital.
No one believes Lauren, and she accepts the fact that she must have hallucinated…Until…she’s at home adjusting to motherhood when she sees the creepy woman in the bushes across the street. Patrick says he doesn’t see anyone, Lauren calls Jo, who finds the ground next to the bush is trampled. Again, she believes Lauren and becomes suspicious of Patrick.
With the help of a journalist named Amy (who she has a crush on), Harper continues her investigation into Lauren’s case, while Lauren becomes increasingly paranoid. She feels resentment towards Patrick for not helping with the babies, and is suffering from lack of sleep, fear, and anxiety. After an incident while out for a walk, Lauren believes the creepy woman has taken her twin boys and replaced them with changelings, who look exactly like her babies but who act very strange when no one else is looking.
“I told you, that wasn’t them,” said Lauren, “whatever was in that stroller. They’ve been swapped. They’re evil those things, they’re not my babies.”
I despised Lauren’s husband Patrick for most of the book. He’s incredibly selfish, and manipulative. Lauren’s thoughts and actions are authentic, and as a mom I could relate to her intense fear. Her description of the changelings gave me goosebumps, and at one point had to book the book down while reading before bed because it was creeping me out.
The writing style is a five-sense experience. The pacing is perfect. I honestly couldn’t stop reading this. Little Darlings is an atmospheric, disturbing psychological thriller about the fear we share towards the unknown. Film rights are optioned by Free Range Films, and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get to see this on the big screen.
- Setting: 5/5
- Plot Development: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Quality of Writing: 5/5
- Ending: 5/5
- Overall: 5/5
Love books? Get your next read for 50-90% off list price, plus get $10 off your first $25+ order at Book Outlet.
You can use my referral code and we’ll both benefit 🙂
Thank you to Melanie Golding and Crooked Lane Books for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.
*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*
About The Author
“Melanie Golding is a graduate of the MA in creative writing program at Bath Spa University, with distinction. She has been employed in many occupations including farm hand, factory worker, childminder and music teacher. Throughout all this, because and in spite of it, there was always the writing. In recent years she has won and been shortlisted in several local and national short story competitions. Little Darlings is her first novel, and has been optioned for screen by Free Range Films, the team behind the adaptation of My Cousin Rachel.”