I read Little Darlings in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. I love dark fairy tales, brought up on a diet of Grimm and W.B Yeats, later moving onto Graham Joyce and Juliet Marillier. The chilling ideas of changelings, stalking and mental health kept me gripped. You ask yourself throughout, what is real and what is in the main characters head.
Little Darlings by Melanie Golding is set in Sheffield following the story of new mother, Lauren who has just given birth to twins after a traumatic birth. At first she finds it hard to bond with her twin boys but after a strange and frightening encounter in the maternity ward, which was very real to her but not to anybody around her she falls in love with her boys and wants to protect them with all she has. She is convinced a strange, ragged woman is stalking her and after her children. Everyone around her thinks she’s struggling, possibly suffering from postnatal depression and encourages her to leave the safety of her own home. One day she meets up with friends at a local park and after weeks of not sleeping, sits on a bench and drifts off. When her eyes open, her twins are gone. Not long after they are found and the mystery seems to be solved, except Lauren does not believe these are her children….
I bonded with Lauren from the start. I don’t know if the author has children but I imagine she does from her ability to describe the days after birth, the feelings of a new mother and the struggles of the weeks after when everybody expects you to hold it together. It reminded me very much of when my first son was born and what the maternity ward was like. It’s true that you can tell your child from anybody else’s even though they look alike. When they took my boy away for blood tests, I could follow his cries. I knew his voice. I found the first few weeks hard to manage, constantly in a state of breast feeding, terrified I was getting it wrong in some way. And who would believe you, a new mother, over emotional, over tired, when your children look exactly the same as they always did. It’s a frightening concept.
Loved it and compelled to read it all. Some supernatural, some folklore and real life mystery. This title is due to be released in Spring 2019. 5/5.
Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for this eArc in exchange for an honest review.