ARC Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Goodreads: Little Darlings
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publish date: 30 April 2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Supernatural Thriller
Rating: ★★★½

“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.

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.

Oh wow, this one really took me ages to read! I think I kind of psyched myself out of reading it because it’s a supernatural thriller and the supernatural isn’t really my jam. I had no clue when I read the blurb that it would have these elements, I honestly thought it would be about a woman who was suffering from postpartum depression or something along those lines. I don’t really see this as a thriller but perhaps more of folk tale inspired slow burn mystery. That said, I don’t think my apprehension to read this affected how I felt about the story. I didn’t dislike it, but it did fill me with a lot of anxiety, though I enjoyed the uncertainty of not knowing what was real and what wasn’t.

The story is told in alternating perspectives between Lauren and Detective Sergeant Joanna Harper. Harper’s POV was pretty much standard police procedure and detective work, although there was a lot of personal conflict with her character. She felt pity for Lauren but also understood her situation as a mother, which led her to taking the leap and believing something that should’ve been completely ridiculous. Ultimately though it was for the wrong reasons and only added to make the situation worse.

Lauren’s anguish, depression and loneliness was palpable throughout the book. It left me feeling anxious about what would happen next, and sad for her character and what she was going through. My least favorite character in this novel was her husband, Patrick, who was honestly such a weak and spineless man; I wanted to push him off a cliff with how patronizing and selfish he was! To be honest though, since we only saw his character through Lauren’s eyes, I wasn’t sure whether he was really like that or if it what we saw was clouded by Lauren’s depression and mania.

Perhaps the reason why I didn’t absolutely love this story was because I don’t have children, and at this point in my life, I’m leaning towards not having any of my own. This story is fully about a mother’s love for her children and her willingness to do just about anything to get them back, and I couldn’t really connect with that anguish and desperation. While I’m not saying that it’s necessary to have children to understand the intensity of this novel and Lauren’s character, I think it definitely helps to connect with it.

I thought this was a fairly well-paced mystery, although certain parts in the middle really slowed it down for me and got boring. I liked how every chapter began with excerpts from various folk tales–it definitely added to the creepy supernatural vibe of the story. I will also admit that this was a lot less creepy than I thought, although many things to do with babies and the supernatural kind of freak me out in general 🙂 There ended up being quite a lot of elements in this story and at first I was wondering how Golding would tie it all together, especially when a new one was introduced so late in the book; but while the climax was slightly unrealistic, this was inspired by a folk tale so it fit with the overall story arc. One thing I will say is that this novel kept me guessing throughout and although I knew none of it could be real, I still couldn’t help but wondering “what if“. Overall, I’m impressed with how Melanie Golding packaged everything for a satisfying, if not slightly sad, conclusion.

Thanks to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for the free copy in exchange for a free copy. This book was published on 30 April 2019.

First Impression Friday & Friday 56 w/ Little Darlings (ARC)

There’s a brand new meme hosted by JW Martin called First Impression Friday! It sounded like a fun way to reflect on a new book, so I thought I’d play along! Here’s what it’s about:

First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther.Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end. Did you think you’d love and ended up hating it? Or did you think you’d hate it and wound up loving it? Or were you exactly right?

I started Little Darlings (ARC) by Melanie Golding during my lunch break today and by the time lunch ended I got to about 5%. I won’t be continuing this tonight as I’ll be waiting for the sun to guide me through what I feel will be a fairly dark and creepy read! I’ve probably mentioned this a few times by now but supernatural thrillers are not my thing. I have an insanely wild imagination that gets away with me, so I like to stay away from things that I know will easily induce nightmares. However, when I requested this on NetGalley, I didn’t actually realize it had supernatural elements (otherwise I would’ve stayed far away, duh). My first impression: there’s a sinister air that hangs over the story from the beginning. I feel that Lauren Tranter might give me anxiety but also frustrate me, her thoughts so far remind me a little bit of a the mother’s nightmares from The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent. I think I will end up giving this read a ★★★½☆☆ but I could end up surprising myself and really love it by the end. Anything can happen!

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda @Freda’s Voice, with the rules as followed:

– Grab a book, any book.
– Turn to page 56 or 56% on your eReader/book.
– Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
– Post it.
– Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple

Doctor Summer followed Patrick into the corridor. As the door to the therapy room was closed and locked behind them by the nurse, the doctor peered at each boy in turn, giving them a little squeeze.

56%, Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

What are you currently reading? Have you done a First Impression Friday or The Friday 56 post? Leave a link in the comments and let’s chat books 🙂

#WWWWednesday: 24 April 2019

We’ve come to the last Wednesday of April! I’ve seen a lot of people posting about trying to fit in their last few reads for the month and I am too! I think it’s been a pretty decent reading month though and I think it might even be comparable to March! Hope everyone has been going well with their April reads too! But without further ado, let’s get back to it… It’s time for another WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be talking about:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What did you read last?

Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven (Monstress #3) by Marjorie M. Liu. I discovered this gem earlier last year when I started exploring graphic novels. If you can’t tell by the name and the cover, it’s a pretty dark tale. Set in a matriarchal 1900s steam-punk Asia, the story is full of violence, magic, and supernatural monsters. While the story is still a little bit confusing, the world building is mind-blowing and the artwork by Sana Takeda is so beautifully gothic. We follow Maika Halfwolf, who’s on the run from coalition forces and who embarks on a journey to learn about her late mother’s secrets, and to learn how to cope with the monster living inside her. If you don’t mind a bit of a twisted gorey read, I would definitely recommend this to you!

What are you currently reading?

Normal People by Sally Rooney. When this book exploded on my bookstagram feed earlier this month, I was quite hesitant to pick it up because of how I felt about Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends. It was one of my least favorite reads last year and it left me feeling angry and full of discomfort, and I was sure that I wouldn’t pick up another of Rooney’s books again (a big statement, I know). So when I was facing my two-book hangover last week and picked this up on a whim, I didn’t think it would be the one to pull me in, but I was hooked from the start! It’s honestly shaping up to be one of my favorite reads so far this year, although it should come with a trigger warning for major depression, suicidal thoughts, depictions of physical and sexual abuse, and consent.

I’ve also started The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides on the side. I’m only a few chapters in but I can sense that this is going to be a thrilling and fast read that will be keeping me on my toes until the very end! This is another book that’s been very hyped everywhere, so I’m hoping it’ll live up to my expectations!

What will you read next?

One of the books I am going to stop waffling over and will definitely be picking up at the weekend is the e-ARC for Little Darlings by Melanie Golding. When I requested to read this on Netgalley, there was no mention in the description that it would a supernatural thriller, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have requested it. Supernatural horror is really not my jam. I’m not even gonna lie, I’m weak like that and I’m absolutely okay with it, so the thought of reading this is making my imagination jump from 0-100 and I’m basically just shit scared. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as I think but best believe I’ll be reading this under the full light of day and I’m aiming to finish it before sundown!

Have you read any of these or are you planning to?
What are you currently reading? 🙂