Title: Little Darlings
Author: Melanie Golding
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Publish Date: 04-30-2019 // Crooked Lane Books
“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 our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking―and rechecking―your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.
The setting begins at the maternity ward and moves to the Tranter residence.
Right off the bat, we know something is wrong with Lauren Tranter. We are told she’s going through the complications of not having a C-section and is made to stay overnight in the maternity ward, along with another mother. That’s went things start going askew and Lauren experiences her first of many traumatic events. Home isn’t any better. Strange gifts. Pressure and paranoia. Lauren can’t count on her husband and she can’t shake off the feeling that something is out to get her and the newly born twins. The start of many sleepless nights commence with Lauren as the sole protector to her babies.
Most of the characters were background noise so I’ve mentioned the few that stood out.
Lauren Tranter is not someone I particularly liked at the beginning of the story but she grows on you. You start to see her evolving as her exasperation grows… the means she takes to assure that her babies are returned safe and sound? It certainly won me over, especially toward the end when that fierce protectiveness motherhood personality comes to the surface.
Patrick Tranter is not someone liked. There might be some evolving as a father, minimal at most but as a person? This man goes from bad to rotten and by the end, there’s really no redeeming qualities. In fact, I dare say he’s the real villain in the story.
Johanna Harper is someone that was likable at first. Understanding where no one else would side with Lauren and even going as far as to check up on things when it seemed as if everything pointed to ‘case close’. She was witty, persistent and funny at times but ultimately, she dismisses all the strangeness of the case, relying on the cold, hard facts.
Amy is the flirtatious journalist that somehow has the charm and connections to fill most of the holes regarding Harper’s investigation. As a journalist, Amy is transparent. Her goal is single-minded and that is to get to the heart of the story but she proves to be a respectable individual and a friend when needed. Amy’s past is murky at best and there’s not really a backstory to her.
The Review/My Thoughts
This book started out negative for me. There’s crude and grotesque details regarding the after pregnancy that were realistic enough to make me cringe with disgust—found in the first few chapters. (This might be a personal caveat but I thought I should still mention it. It was a trigger of sorts.)
From that point forth, initial assumptions led me to believe the focus would be gore-filled, eerie details but that wasn’t the case. The real horror aspect of the story is the Tranter’s deteriorating marriage, the selfishness of the husband even as the wife is desperately trying to cling to sanity.
The book uses excerpts from folktales and lore at the beginning of each chapter as well as throughout the story. I thought these snippets added to the overall eeriness of the book.
The writing style was simple, crude and at times, vivid with realism. The horrors littered through the pages are a mother’s worst nightmare. This book is not without its clichés but it wasn’t enough to ruin my reading experience.
Huge thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing an advanced copy of this book (Kindle) in exchange for an honest review!~
Favorite Book Quotes
“Look at someone every day for long enough and you stop seeing what everyone else sees. You start to see what no one else sees, what is kept hidden from most people.”
Instead of using stars as a way to rank, I split ratings into: positive, mixed or negative. In the world of traditional stars, it would go like this:
Excellent: 5 Positive: 4 – 4.5 // Mixed: 3 – 3.5 // Negative: 1-2.5
This book was a mixture of positive and mixed.
Is Little Darlings in your TBR? Are you a fan of thrillers?