About this book…
THE TWINS ARE CRYING.
THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.
LAUREN IS CRYING.
LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.
Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .
Lauren is alone on the maternity ward with her new-born twins when a terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves her convinced someone is trying to steal her children. Lauren, desperate with fear, locks herself and her sons in the bathroom until the police arrive to investigate.
When DS Joanna Harper picks up the list of overnight incidents that have been reported, 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.
Harper’s superior officer tells her there’s no case here, but Harper can’t let it go so she visits the hospital anyway. There’s nothing on the CCTV. No one believes this woman was ever there. And yet, Lauren claims that she keeps seeing the woman and that her babies are in danger, and soon Harper is sucked into Lauren’s spiral of fear. But how far will they go to save children who may not even be in danger?
What did I think…
There was no question of me NOT reading this book, was there?! I mean, twin books are my thing but I don’t think I’ve read many “baby twin” books before. And all I can say is…thank goodness I didn’t read this when I was pregnant with my twins or it would have scared the bejesus out of me!! This beautifully conceived book took the old folklore and fairytales about changelings and weaved a modern day tale around them that left me mentally traumatised! Little Darlings will haunt you long after you have finished reading it and you’ll probably wish it didn’t! I still have goosebumps every time I remember certain parts of the stunning but chilling narrative.
I was very lucky when I had my twins. I had an incredibly supportive husband and we had a fabulous little nighttime routine right from the word go. He would go downstairs and get bottles warmed up for them both while I changed twin 1. He would then take her and feed her while I woke twin 2, changed her nappy and then gave her a bottle. They were then winded, cuddled and popped back in their cots! It worked so well that by 6 weeks they were sleeping through the night. But if I had been married to Lauren’s husband Patrick then I would have had a very different nighttime experience indeed and I would probably have been arrested for causing him a major injury!! Poor Lauren is exhausted, especially after a traumatic event in the hospital shortly after her twin baby boys were born, but “poor” Patrick needs his sleep-even though he is on paternity leave for the first week that they are home! I mean if my husband had mentioned the words “spare bedroom” and “earplugs” in the same sentence after I had just given birth to my first born child, let alone twins….!!! Yes, Patrick’s lack of support made my blood boil from the start but then again no one else seemed to sense the huge amount of pressure that Lauren appeared to be under either. But there was more to Lauren’s exhaustion and anxiety than just the normal first time mum blues and although she tried her best, there still seemed to be something very unsettling about her twin boys…
I don’t think I have read a book like Little Darlings before. I thought it was a brilliant mix of psychological thriller, horror and mythology that worked so well, I really couldn’t decide which direction the narrative was going to take. I didn’t expect the path it did choose but I think that it was the right one for this storyline and worked perfectly. The author has done a huge amount of research and it has certainly paid off for her as she purposefully delivered a suspenseful, harrowing dilemma with a sense of unease from beginning to end.
Although Lauren was a fascinating character, it was Jo Harper that I really took to and she is one that I would really like to meet again. In fact, Little Darlings is one of those books where you really want to be able to revisit the world that you left when the book finished to find out what happened to the characters after you left them behind. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since I finished this creepy and compelling thriller! And for me that’s the sign of a brilliant read that I want to shout about to anyone who will listen! Definitely one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.
Little Darlings is published by HQ on 2nd May 2019.
Meet the author…
Melanie Golding is a recent graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, with distinction. Her short stories have been chosen to be recorded as podcasts by the Leicester-based festival Story City in 2015 and 2016, and to be performed at both the regular Stroud Short Stories event and their special ‘best of’ event at Cheltenham Literature Festival. In 2017 she won the short story prize at the Mid Somerset Festival, as well as the Evelyn Sanford trophy for highest mark in the prose class. She has taught creative writing in prisons and Young Offenders Institutions, as well as teaching music in a school for boys with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. She is now a full-time registered childminder and splits her time between that and writing. Little Darlings is her debut novel and has been optioned for screen by Free Range Films, the team behind the adaptation of My Cousin Rachel.