Author: Melanie Golding
Publisher: Crooked Lane
Publish Date: April 30, 2019
“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 of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking―and rechecking―your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.
What a page-turner! I read this book in two evenings. It’s a thriller, mystery, and dark fairytale, with a dash of the paranormal, all rolled into one book.
In this debut novel, Melanie Golding perfectly captures the fog of postpartum and maternal instinct. She took me back 15 years, to my early days with my newborn daughter. This made the main character, Lauren, immediately relatable.
New mothers are often on the receiving end of well-meant, unsolicited advice and Lauren was no exception.
After a terrifying night in the hospital where a filthy woman tries to exchange Lauren’s twins with her own creature-like twins, Lauren is told she is imagining things and the incident is dismissed as exhaustion. Video footage confirms that nothing happened and soon enough Lauren and her irritating husband Patrick are heading home with their newborn twins.
Lauren’s fears and terror continue yet she cannot convince those around her that something isn’t right. As a mother, I could put myself in that situation and that’s what made this a page-turner.
I had to know what happened next.
What I liked:
The writing was well done, Lauren’s character was well developed and easy to empathize with.
I love a good changeling story. And changeling twins? Even better.
I also appreciated the presentation of a postpartum mother, suffering from terrible worry and fear, without turning her into an unreliable narrator. I never felt the need to question Lauren’s fears.
What I didn’t like:
UGH the husband, Patrick. I’m sure that is a universal feeling from anyone who has read this book. Sometimes his clueless demeanor bordered on cruel, making him feel a bit overdeveloped. But I do believe that helped strengthen Lauren’s character and story.
Harper, the detective – I wish her back story had been expanded more. She was right on the cusp of being an interesting and well-developed character.
If you enjoy a good thriller without extreme violence and terror – this happens to be me – and if you enjoy dark fairy tales and books like The Hazel Wood and Once Upon a River, Little Darlings should be added to your TBR list today!
Want to win a copy? Head over to my Instagram to enter! I have three copies to give away, courtesy of Crooked Lane Books.
Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.