Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Posted On 16 August 2022

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : Seriously, a top ten contender


I loved Daisy Darker.  In the past few weeks I’ve not really read a lot.  I think I mentioned in another post that this isn’t a slump so much as a lack of time and then feeling too exhausted to settle down to blog or even pick up a book.  Daisy Darker definitely stopped that tiredness mid-track.  I picked this one up and was immediately intrigued with the storytelling voice. There’s an almost ethereal feel to the way the narrative is delivered and this is strengthened by the unusual setting and the dysfunctional family that we are introduced to.  Feeney starts out with a captivating hook, she then lets us run on the line enjoying the freedom to explore the remote setting and the histrionics of the Darker family before reeling us in to a climatic and dramatic grand finale.

Daisy’s nana is the head of the Darker family.  Her 80th birthday fast approaches and with it the strange prediction she was told many years ago that she wouldn’t live beyond that age.  What a prediction!  The entire family seem to have completely become immersed in this belief and this definitely adds to the drama.  Nana lives on a remote island connected to the mainland by a causeway that is flooded for the majority of the time and only accessible twice a day at low tide so once the family arrive for the birthday celebrations they’ll be basically stuck together for a good few hours.  Now, throw in the expectation of a Will being read and someone finding out that they are to become the main benefactor.  What could possibly go wrong??

Let’s take a look at the family.  Daisy is the main character.  She was born with a heart problem that at the time was not so easy to treat, in fact her heart stopped beating and was revived on a number of occasions during the course of the story.  The family took the news of Daisy’s condition badly.  Her mother Nancy, a beautiful but rather vapid failed wannabe actress, feels overwhelming guilt which combined with the affrontry that she also seems to feel at such an occurrence leads her to both mollycoddle and push Daisy away at the same time.  Daisy’s father is mainly noteable by his absence as he travels the world with his orchestra.  Daisy’s two sisters, also named for flowers are Rose, the eldest sister, incredibly intelligent and motivated, and Lily, the middle sibling, a bit lazy and usually trying to cause trouble.  That leaves Connor, now a young man who met the family when a boy and spent so much time with them that he’s like a brother – although, not to everyone!  Finally the youngest member is Lily’s daughter Trixie who comes across almost as vulnerable and inexperienced as Daisy.  Nana (or Beatrice) is a successful author, terribly eccentric but at the same time managing to come across as more grounded than all the rest of the family put together.  I loved her character.

Anyway, I’m not going to discuss the plot at all because that would lead to spoilers but instead just talk about what worked so well for me.

Well, this, in Agatha Christie fashion, is a locked room style mystery.  It’s told in an almost whimsical fashion and I can’t deny that in my mind’s eye I was painting one of those beautiful but hazy pictures of an idyllic existence, long lazy spells on the beach and a childhood spent rambling around inside an unusual and gothic home.  On top of this the writing is just beautiful.  I could very easily see myself picking that book up and starting it over as I enjoyed the style so much.

There’s also a magical realism that is blended into the story so well that, again, I feel like I should read this again just to see what I missed along the way.

Added to this is the wonderful setting, the captivating tales from the family’s past and the fact that the story takes place, not only in such a perfect setting but also on the night of Halloween – and, during a storm no less.  Okay, it’s just deliciously over the top but I loved it.  The characters act irresponsibly, they wander off alone and you’re always reading with your heart hammering in your chest when they do so because you’re never sure if you’ll see them again.  We have little poems about each character which really does highlight their flaws in the most dramatic fashion and to be honest – read these properly rather than skirt over them as they are important.

I don’t know what else I can say to entice you to read this book.  Please??  Pretty please??  For me this was absolutely captivating.  I loved every minute of it and although I may have had the odd quibble here and there the overpowering feeling of enjoyment was so intense when I finished that I don’t think they warrant an inclusion here.

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

My rating 5 of 5 stars


4 Responses to “Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney”

  1. Tammy

    This was the perfect book to read by this new to me author, she is so talented. I can hardly wait to read more of her books!

  2. Rebecca

    I am so excited to pick up the audiobook for this!!! 😀 I can’t wait!

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Happy dance! So glad to hear you loved this. I did enjoy the nods to classic Christie as well, and the creepy Gothic atmosphere was simply the icing on the cake.

  4. pagesandtea

    I’m not going to be able to resist this one am I, especially as spooky season is approaching 😀

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