Review: Little Darlings (Melanie Golding)
“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.”
Author: Melanie Golding
Genre: Fairy tale thriller (is that a genre?!)
Page Count: 374
Published: 2 May 2019
Plot: (9.0 / 10) Characters: (7.0 / 10) Ending: (7.0 / 10)
A terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves Lauren convinced someone is trying to steal her new-born twins. Desperate with fear, she locks herself and her sons in the bathroom until the police arrive.
When DS Joanna Harper picks up the list of reported overnight incidents, she expects the usual calls from drunks and wrong numbers. But then a report of an attempted abduction catches her eye. The only thing is that it was flagged as a false alarm just fifteen minutes later. But Harper chooses to investigate anyway.
There’s nothing on the CCTV, and yet Lauren claims that the woman is still after her children. No one will listen to Lauren – except Harper. And now Harper must ask herself, is Lauren mad, or does she see something no one else can?
First off, I have to say I wouldn’t recommend reading this book if pregnant. I’m really glad I’d given birth BEFORE reading this, the birth story at the beginning is quite graphic and harrowing at points.
I had no idea what to expect from Little Darlings. I didn’t know if it was a ghost story, a horror, a police thriller, or a combination of all three, and that made it even more gripping.
I think the book is strongest when it focuses on the haunting, dark, sinister aspects – it was like a gothic, twisted fairy tale. Each chapter begins with extracts from poems and folklore about changelings and newborn twins and I was thoroughly unsettled by them. Lauren is struggling with newborn twins, exhaustion and spiralling into depression, while her husband shrugs off her concerns and doesn’t really help out with parenting duties. She is convinced someone is trying to take her twins, and she is terrified to leave the house, locking herself in and shutting herself and the twins off from the world.
I think Golding has done a really good job of making the reader question everything – does Lauren have post-partum depression or psychosis? Or is she really seeing something that no-one else can see? The ambiguous nature of the story – is it actually a ghost story, or is it just fiction – definitely adds to this, I had no idea where it was going and found it really haunting.
I thought the police procedural parts of the novel were the weakest. I didn’t think they felt particularly well researched, although I think that it helped to provide a more grounded feel to the story.
Little Darlings is Melanie Golding’s debut novel, and I think it’s a brilliant debut, I’m looking forward to reading whatever she writes next.