Book Title and Author: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding
Publication Date and Publisher: April 30, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Fiction, Horror
Pages: 368 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: April 6, 2019 (e-arc)
“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.
Melanie Golding’s debut novel is a hauntingly creepy novel that skillfully weaves traditional fairy tales and folklore about changelings into a darkly superb psychological thriller meets modern-day fairy tale. Little Darlings left me applauding the writer’s skill at brilliantly crafting a story that I devoured in several hours―I was riveted by the story of a young new mother who says someone is threatening her and her twin babies, but no one believes her and thinks she’s hallucinating. Is she? Or is something dark and evil lurking waiting to steal her babies?
When new mother of twin boys, Lauren Tranter is dozing after a terribly difficult delivery of her newborn twin sons, she wakes to singing and then a very peculiar looking woman with her own twins hisses she’ll take one of Lauren’s babies in exchange for one of hers. Lauren locks herself in the bathroom and calls the police, but no signs of anyone is found on video. Everyone thinks it’s all in Lauren’s head as she’s overly exhausted.
As the weeks pass, Lauren refuses to sleep in case the woman returns for one of her babies, so her days pass in a vicious cycle of breastfeeding, dirty diapers, sleeplessness, and never leaving her house. Her husband Patrick is selfishly no help, so Lauren is a young mother with no support, no help, and dealing with all the hardships of new motherhood times two.
When Lauren finally leaves the house, the unthinkable happens and her babies disappear! Yet, when they are recovered, Lauren swears they have been switched! Lauren knows she has to save her boys like the fairy tales she’s read have told her but to do so, she might end up making the biggest mistake of her life if she’s wrong.
As a mom who had severe postpartum depression and anxiety with all of my children, I appreciated how skillfully Golding presented the psychological torment of having PPD and PPA. Her accuracy in the depiction still astounds me. Those were probably the most horrible days of my life because even though I was thrilled to have my new babies, I was mentally tormented. No one I knew would talk to me about it, and it took 6 months to get a diagnosis after my 1st pregnancy because I had no idea what was wrong. I hope more people become aware of this common disorder and applaud Golding for making PPD a part of the story!
Golding’s novel is wickedly intense and will instill terror into any parent’s hearts. She’ll make you think fairy tales are true then the next minute you’ll think Lauren does have PPD. The contrast between what is real and unknown, the supernatural and natural is wonderfully explored, as well as the desperate love of a mother for her children.
While some readers might find the uncertainty of the ending frustrating, I appreciated it because I liked being able to interpret this multifaceted story in my own way. This is a well-written story that more than anything shines the light on a mother’s desperation to save her children.
**Thank you, NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC to read in exchange for a fair and honest review.**