📍 United Kingdom
Little Darlings by Melanie Golding
312 pages | Published April 30th, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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.
I cannot believe I’ve had an ARC of this book for months now and I never picked it up until now. Boy, was I missing out! 😱 I thought this would be just a regular domestic thriller, maybe with a “crazy” new mom thrown in there – what I was not expecting was a horror book. I’m not sure whether this is advertised or categorized as such, but to me this is a horror thriller, and let me tell you, it’s a damn good one! I legit got scared reading some parts of it 😅
So what is the buzz all about? Little Darlings follows Lauren, a new mom who has just had twins. While she is still in the hospital, she sees a woman in the bed next to hers, through the curtain. When she asks about it the next morning, she is told that no one is staying in that bed. The following night, Lauren sees her again and ends up locking herself in the bathroom with her babies, calling 911 to report an attempted kidnapping. However, there is no one there. Days later, the babies disappear when Lauren takes them on a walk to the park, and when they come back, Lauren is convinced that those are not her babies. Apart from Lauren, we follow detective Joanna Harper, who has a bit of a stormy past. When she reads a police report on the attempted kidnapping at the hospital, Joanna is touched by Lauren’s story and feels compelled to help her as much as she can. Thus, we follow Lauren’s journey as no one around her believes anything she says, except for Joanna.
I read this book in under 24 hours, which is a record considering how little I have been reading this year and how long it took me to finish most books. This one, however, was pure addiction. From the moment I started reading it, I became super invested in the story and could not wait to find out what the hell was happening.
Let’s talk about how terrifying some things are in this book. Firstly, this woman that Lauren sees is literally straight out of a nightmare, and it is so scary to read about her. Secondly, how can you not shit your pants as you read about someone creepily sitting behind a hospital curtain? Then, as if that was not enough, the author includes vivid descriptions of absolutely horrifying things like labor, medical procedures, hemorrhages, and something about the (not so) wonderful process of breastfeeding. I kid you not, those made me shudder and just cringe so hard because, wow… after that I am NEVER getting pregnant 😂😂
I really liked how the author portrayed Lauren and her mental breakdowns, as well as what everyone around her was thinking about the things she kept saying. I feel like every time I read another book featuring an unreliable narrator I fall deeper in love with this ‘trope’, if you will. There’s something about not knowing what is really happening – or whether the character really sees or hears what they say – that hooks me and makes the reading experience all the more intriguing.
It is worth mentioning that Joanna, the detective, is into women. Her sexuality is not fully explained, but if you’re looking for an LGBT+ detective, Joanna is your girl. I don’t recall ever reading a crime novel that featured a non-straight detective, so that’s definitely a plus in terms of representation.
There is only one fault to this book: some questions remained unanswered by the end, which is rather annoying. I do not like it when authors don’t explain things properly, and that’s what happens in the case of this book – I was left feeling a bit ill-informed and unsatisfied. That’s the only reason why I will not give it 5 stars, although it is close to that. Other than the ending, however, pretty much every aspect of this book is spot on.
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on Little Darlings and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!
Have you read this amazing debut? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments!
Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡