Title: Little Darlings
Author: Melanie Golding
Narrators: Stephanie Racine
Length: 12 hours (312 pages)
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Recommended for fans of: psychological thrillers, folklore and fairy tales
Content Warnings: childbirth, gaslighting, infidelity
“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.
This psychological thriller about a mother who believes her newborn twins are replaced with changelings was absolutely haunting, bordering on horror. I was drawn to this book because of the fairy/folklore influence, but I got more than I bargained for.
The depictions of the trauma of childbirth, the loneliness of new motherhood, a dismissive and unsupportive husband, and Lauren’s growing paranoia were painfully raw and real. It was so hard to read that I set it aside for a week and almost didn’t pick it back up. I usually read thrillers for twisty drama, but this was so sad.
That being said, I am glad I finished this. Lauren’s mental illness was explored with nuance and empathy rather than being reduced to a thriller plot device. The atmosphere was downright eerie, and it often felt like supernatural forces were truly at play (as a fantasy reader, I obviously want to believe).