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 looked at Melanie Golding’s debut novel, Little Darlings, several times on NetGalley before I decided to click the read now button, and after spending the whole day reading it, I’m certainly glad I did. I’m not a mother myself, but Golding’s prose brings to life the very real concerns that any parent faces: the fear of losing their children. In this beautifully written book, readers are introduced to a deliciously dark fairytale, alongside the ultimate horror a parent can encounter.
Lauren Tranter is a new mother to beautiful twin boys. Cautious and brimming with worries common to becoming a parent, she finds herself quickly in a predicament: a woman has shown up at the maternity ward, demanding Lauren’s children in exchange for her own. When Lauren refuses, things quickly become murky and, when her children go missing at the park, her life is turned upside down.
I have a bit of a tumultuous relationship with a few of the characters in this book, and it’s a bit difficult to really nail down how I feel about them. For the most part, I absolutely adore Lauren–perhaps because I feel she’s portrayed exceptionally. Her husband, on the other hand, I can’t stand. Arrogant and self-centered, all Patrick seems to care about is himself. The detective, Jo Harper, falls squarely in between these two. Coming off as unlikable early on, she quickly finds her way into the reader’s heart with her go get ’em attitude. In part, it’s because of her noble desire to get to the bottom of things: to determine whether or not Lauren is mad, or if there might be some truth to what the new mother is saying.
Golding’s command of language lends a dark atmosphere to her novel. With excerpts from tales on changelings spaced throughout the book, she creates a deeply disturbing reality, where as a reader I found myself questioning everything. She simultaneously makes both sides of the plot’s story, that is Lauren’s side and the side conducting the investigation into the attempted abduction of her children, equally believable. I’m still asking questions, even after finishing the book. Oh, and the things uncovered toward the end of the book adds a delicious twist on top of Lauren’s plight.
Little Darlings is a wonderful read, and I read the majority of it in one sitting. It starts out a bit slowly, but once things begin picking up, Golding’s style drives the story forward at break-neck speed. After reading this, I was thrilled to discover it’s already been optioned for a film and I eagerly await its release. This book is definitely a must read for fans of psychological thrillers.
I’d like to thank NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.