Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Published by Crooked Lane Books

“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.

I needed a shower to wash away all the angst after reading this book! It’s stunningly written and plays on all of my fundamental fears in life: endangered children, not being believed and not being able to tell the difference between reality and hallucinations.

This book uses all of these things in a story that combines thriller, paranormal and mental illness – it’s up to you as the reader to interpret the unreliable narration of Laurie, the main character, to decide on yourself how large a role these things play.

Laurie is an excellent main character, she’s an ordinary first time mother trying to keep her babies safe. She’s intelligent, resourceful and trying to survive the most stressful time of her life with little to no support from her total ass hat of a husband. He makes it abundantly clear from the moment the twins are born that it’s all very inconvenient for him – this only adds to the sense of claustrophobia and panic, which you feel throughout this book.

The chapters are split between the perspectives of Laurie and Harper, the investigating officer, which gives you two sides to the story to help you form your opinion on what’s real and what isn’t. I was hooked from the beginning of this book though I did find myself a bit frustrated with the ending as it was left somewhat open to interpretation.

I’d recommend steering clear of this book if you’re a parent of very young children, it plays very heavily on a parent’s fears for their children and will probably result in you giving up on sleep altogether until your offspring is 18…
This story gave me chills, which is probably the highest praise I could give any kind of thriller!

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