March 4, 2019

Book Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Source: Vine

A new mother becomes convinced that her children are not her own…

Lauren, a new mother, is exhausted by the demands of her twin boys. Since coming home from the hospital, she rarely leaves the house. But it isn't only new motherhood keeping her there. Lauren knows someone is watching them and someone wants her babies. It started with an incident at the hospital and an emergency call in the middle of the night. No one believes her -- not her husband, not the police -- until one day in the park when everything changes. Is Lauren mad or does she know something no one else does?

The most affecting passages in Little Darlings come early on - when Lauren is struggling as a brand new mom, bone-tired, sleep-deprived, and getting little help from her husband.  I just wanted to somehow enter the story and relieve her for a few hours so that she could sleep and regain some of her energy. Every mother will see themselves in Lauren, not only in the first few months after giving birth but in the sheer horror and panic surrounding every mother's worst fear - what if someone took my baby when I wasn't looking?

"Come away, O human child/To the waters and the wild" - The Stolen Child by W.B. Yeats

Little Darlings is taut with suspense, as the novel expertly straddles the line between post-partum depression and folktales about changelings - fairy creatures who take the place of stolen human babies.  In one chapter, I am sure that the fairies stole Morgan and Riley but in the next I am equally convinced that physically and emotionally strung Lauren is in the middle of a psychotic episode.  In which camp does the ending finally fall? - I'll leave it to you to find out.  

"...Morgan didn't look like Morgan, not exactly. Riley didn't either, something about the way his lip curled.

"And then she knew, with a terrible certainty. It wasn't Morgan and Riley, not anymore. Something else was looking at her, out of the eyes of her babies. 

....

"She stared at the babies, and as she did, a smell of rotting river-weed filled her nostrils.  The twins had been changed."

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