Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

LittleDarlings2.jpgLittle Darlings is an unusual book to review, not least of all because of the possibility of spoilers, but also because it’s a slippery sucker that’s difficult to pin down.  Is it a dark twisted fairy tale, a mystery or a case of one woman’s journey through post-natal depression?  What I can say is this was a creepy and compelling read, maybe not exactly what I was expecting when I picked it up but nonetheless it was thoroughly gripping and at the same time an excellent exploration of the doubts and fears of being a new mother.

Basically, this is like all your worst nightmares coming true as a new mother and it’s really well written to be honest.  We make the acquaintance of Lauren.  Pregnant and expecting twins she’s starting to discover little cracks in her relationship, possibly not the best timing but then the babies decide to put in an appearance and all is forgotten.  Of course Lauren is exhausted and sore and struggling to cope with two newborn babies with very little support – her husband certainly seems only too happy to relinquish responsibility at the drop of a hat.  So, you can imagine, that when Lauren calls the police from hospital, hysterical and talking of a woman trying to steal her babies the doctors immediately write her claims off as lack of sleep.

All except one detective, Jo Harper.  Jo has ghosts that haunt her from the past, that she still feels remorse over and that lead her to examine things in greater depth.  I’m not saying that Jo believes Lauren but at the same time she doesn’t totally knock her claims on the head, although her boss refuses to sign off the expense needed to investigate events which leaves her in a rather tricky situation.

So, let’s talk about the other woman.  Lauren wakes up in the hospital late at night and can hear singing coming from the next cubicle, when she peeps inside an old woman is crouched over a basket, seemingly where twins are lying.  The woman is bedraggled, unkempt and smells of the river.  She makes Lauren an offer, she’ll take one of Lauren’s boys and leave one of hers in his place and if Lauren refuses this offer she threatens to take both.  Then things turn really nasty and that’s when Lauren calls the police.  Of course, the old woman can’t be found, no images show up on the hospital’s CCTV and so the episode is put down to over exhaustion and frayed nerves.

Now, I can’t really tell you too much more about the plot, Lauren returns home and from there things go from bad to worse.  That’s all I’ll say.

My thoughts.  The writing is excellent.  I felt exhausted myself just reading about Lauren’s struggles and fears for her twins.  She has so very little support and as mentioned above her husband takes absolutely no responsibility for the twins whatsoever.  Okay, he’s at work and he has to be able to wake up in the morning but he felt very cold as a character and I found him incredibly irritating, not to mention he had something of a roving eye.  There was the awful tension that just increased little by little of Lauren not coping, becoming very insular, of everyone starting to look more closely at her – you had this horrible feeling that everything was going to go awfully wrong, and of course it did, but when things finally come crashing down boy oh boy do they come crashing!

I mentioned above that this isn’t quite what I was expecting.  I don’t mean this negatively, I just think I imagined there would be more of the fae elements with the whole changeling aspect to the story whereas this comes across much more as a contemporary story with a slight element of magical realism.  Regardless, of that it’s a very good read, dark and sinuous in nature with just enough things thrown into the mix to make you wonder.  In fact that’s another thing that I thought was really well done – the way the author makes you doubt things yourself as the story develops casting suspicion on people and scattering red herrings around.

The other thing that also came across to me was Lauren’s sense of, not just isolation, which was massively the case during parts of the story, or of the extreme tiredness she felt due to sleepless nights but also this overwhelming fear of not coping and being very much aware of this huge responsibility that she had taken on board.

In terms of criticisms.  I don’t really have anything much to say, I think if you read a lot of mystery/thrillers then you’ll probably be able to pick holes in the police procedural elements of this and if you read a lot of fantasy then you might find this a little on the light side speculatively speaking, but, I didn’t mind either of those and thought the two came together very well.

Overall, I found this a good read, quite dark and creepy and definitely tense.

I received a copy through Netgalley courtesy of the publisher for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.






14 Responses to “Little Darlings by Melanie Golding”

  1. Tammy

    I love the sound of this and I totally feel for poor Lauren. I do love stories with just a hint of the speculative, so I could see myself enjoying this😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think this is well done, creepy in parts, mysterious in others. You end up second guessing yourself even!
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Your description seems to go hand in hand with the (oh, so creepy!) cover image, and both promise indeed a twisted, weird tale that I think I could love.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, it was creepy and definitely an intriguing read. I enjoyed it.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    This sounds wonderfully creepy and intriguing. Definitely makes me curious

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is quite creepy. I liked it, I think going in I had different expectations but it was still a good read.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Going to be starting this in a few days, after my current read. I’m pretty excited after reading this, I love the sound of dark and creepy 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yep, it can be very creepy in places, it’s not as much ‘fae-centred’ as I wanted or expected but I liked it anyway. Well written and then there’s the whole changeling/twins aspect.
      Lynn 😀

  5. waytoofantasy

    Sounds pretty interesting! Sometimes I’m in the mood for something that’s a little creepy, I’ll have to keep this one in mind. 🙂

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