Little Darlings

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Member Reviews

So creepy and addictive! The story is disturbing and it's hard to distinguish what's real and what isn't. I have to admit I was slightly disappointed at the end as I had thought that there might be something more to the storyline but all in all I enjoyed reading this.
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I loved this novel by Melanie Golding, it was creepy, sinister and a likening to the Grimm Fairy tales. So very magical yet with an element of truth that something like this could happen to anyone.

It probably isn’t what I usually pick up to read and it has been classified as a thriller, however I think this has elements of fantasy and magic in there. All in all I loved the fairy tale element to this book.
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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?

Absolutely loved this book and raced through it in no time. A brilliant set of characters and a plot packed with emotions. HIghly recommended!
*** Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for granting me access to this title.
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A Contemporary Fairy Tale - a page-turner:
"Little Darlings" by Melanie Golding is certainly very different. The story is inspired by local fairy tales, fables and history.
The book's structure is different from that which we would normally expect. In structure the book starts at the end and the reader is then taken on a journey to that end. Except that the start isn't quite the end so you have to read the complete book to get the full story. You'll understand that last sentence when you read the novel.
Lauren Tranter gives birth to twin boys. Because these are her first children and twins every one imagines that Lauren's report of an attempted kidnapping which hasn't been captured on the Hospital's CCTV is down to post natal fatigue. After all in a high tech world such an event would have been captured on film but it wasn't. However DS Harper who investigates the report catches sight of an unexplained blur on the CCTV images and is sympathetic throughout the novel to Lauren's claims that a woman is attempting to kidnap her twins, Morgan and Riley, and replace them with substitutes. If she succeeds in kidnapping the boys will anyone believe her story, especially if the replacement boys are almost identical. Identical to all but their mother. Lauren's lazy husband, Patrick, is forced to take on more of a paternal rôle than he had originally been planning as Lauren struggles to cope with motherhood and attempted kidnappings.
As with all fairy tales contemporary or old, the reader expects a happy ending and Melanie Golding fulfills that challenge admirably.
A real page-turner for me at least and I'm sure those of you who read this novel will agree.
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Little Darlings is a curious read, and I don’t know whether to describe it as a psychological thriller or a paranormal mystery. It’s ambiguity leaves the reader rather nonplussed at the end, but it’s a read that forces you to keep going to try and puzzle it out.
Lauren Tranter has just given birth to twins. Sleep deprived, without a support network and full of doubt, she is struggling. While in hospital she thinks she hears a woman singing to twins. However, her children are the only twins in the hospital. Another night she believes the same woman has tried to abduct her twins. She locks herself in a hospital toilet and calls the police. There’s no evidence of anyone else having been in the hospital.
Eventually let home Lauren retreats into herself. She stays at home, full of doubt about her capabilities. Her husband is beyond rubbish - insisting on catching up on sleep during the day as the twins have kept him awake, and begrudging Lauren asking for a drink - and complains that she’s not taking control of stuff. Concerned for her welfare, or sulking because he actually isn’t the most important thing in her life? We’re not sure.
After a week or so, Lauren decides to try and get out for a walk. Things seem to be going well. Then she sits at a bench, falls asleep and wakes to find her babies missing. After a frantic police hunt the twins are found, by a woman who seems to have been having a relationship with Lauren’s husband, and Lauren is convinced her twins have been exchanged.
Interspersed with this narrative we have Harper, a member of the police who goes above and beyond to work out what’s happening. Her approach was unlikely, and yet it offers credence to the paranormal element of this story.
By the end there were signs that there was nothing mysterious about this at all. Lauren simply had a deeply immature and unpleasant husband, and she was mentally ill. The resolution of the narrative didn’t offer much hope, and left me feeling rather short-changed.
Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this and offer my thoughts in exchange for an ARC.
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Now this was a strange one for me and I'm totally unsure of how to rate it.

This novel fantastically tackled the gripping, all consuming dark place of PPA/PPD and any mother reading this who has been down that road might honestly have a few dark moments reading it (as I did) BUT the fact that Melanie Golding has written it so bloody well makes me wonder whether she suffered herself. I'm actually in awe of how accurately she has managed to get those horrible dark feelings down on paper.

The story is based on a Welsh folklore but is considered a paranormal thriller, not my usual genre at all but I'm so glad I read it... purely for the fact that it is tackling something that is so rarely spoken about let alone written about. 

A very dark, creepy but important read that I hope gets the recognition it deserves.

I'm now going to go and sit quietly and let the old emotions of my dark days die down.

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for the ARC.
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What a chilling story! I really liked the book and I thought the characters felt real with their flaws and their own thoughts. Even though the pace was not as quick as I would have liked, each chapter made me want to keep reading because I didn't know what was true and what was fantasy and the babies in the story added a very creepy aspect to it. 

There were twists and turns and at some point I felt like I could not put it down. It was a very intense psychological thriller and I will keep my eyes wide open for Melanie Golding's novels from now on.
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This was such a great thriller about the fear new mums face when they think their children are in danger. Is Lauren going crazy or is someone really trying to abduct her newborns? This book keeps you guessing throughout and was a genuinely enjoyable read.
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Sore and exhausted, Lauren is attempting to rest after a hard labour during which she gave birth to twin boys, when during the night she is visited by a sinister stranger who appears to be trying to take her newborns. Others convince Lauren she was seeing things, and eventually she returns home to care for her babies but she can't shake the feeling that somewhere out there someone is waiting, and her sons are in terrible danger.

This book was a fantastic, creepy read that left me a bit shake in all the best ways and a little bit scared to sleep with the lights off, From the very first chapter, this book had me hooked as we immediately met Lauren recovering from her labour and already she was a character we wanted to look after and root for. There was something really powerful for me in the image of an exhausted new mother alone in a hospital bed trying to figure out how to be a mother and then having to activate her protective stance almost immediately. I felt cold and uncomfortable picturing Lauren alone in the room, seemingly without much help or comfort from the nurses in the hospital.

My emotions quickly turned into anger and frustration as Lauren moved from the hospital to home and had to not only deal with her fussy twins but also an inept and selfish husband - which I'm sure is a feeling a lot of new mothers have to deal with and someone how swallow down! The way this was written and how Melanie Golding was able to really get all the emotions needed out of the reader was genius.

I did like the police officer in this book, though I wasn't expecting the chapters from her POV. And I could have done without the tope of the 'detective having personal history with the subject matter in the care' and that's why they care so much but I do think it was done fairly well here too. We did also have the stereotype of the immoral journalist who would do anything for her story which as a former journo I'm not and never a fan of but could deal with here.

Little Darlings perfectly tiptoes on the line between thriller and horror and you never really know when things are going to get a bit dark and grisly and a face might appear at the window. I loved the fact the reader had to decide what they thought was really going on - supernatural or post partum psychosis. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of tension.
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With thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC,I also read this book via Pigeonhole but then also won a copy from Caboodle books.
It was an extremely unsettling book to read. The storyline was incredibly creepy and based on old folk stories. Whether the identical boy twins were ever swapped is for the reader to decide. The characters were excellent and the father of the twins was someone you wanted to shake, he was so awful as the father of newborn babies and needed his needs to be priority. Extremely clever debut book by Melanie Golding.
Highly recommended.
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À 4 star  read! Creepy, gripping and atmospheric - Little Darlings was a very enjoyable read that had me hooked and intrigued right from the very beginning!
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Why did I leave it so long to read this? When twins are born and the mother starts hearing and seeing strange things you may think she had post partum psychosis that’s what I thought the book was leading to. Turns out I was wrong and it is not the first time it has happened, which DS Harper finds out when investigating.
This book is creepy and chilling and one that grabs you in so you don’t want to put it down.  I really enjoyed it.
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An incredible thriller with great character development that kept me turning the pages! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an advanced reading copy.
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A bit late to the party, I had this on my Kindle for months before actually getting round to it (life got in the way…) I wish I hadn’t waited so long! It was well plotted, and didn’t always go in the direction that you thought it would. It isn’t a straightforward detective novel, although DS Harper is a key character. The protagonist, Lauren, has just given birth to twin boys. In the hospital, she has a creepy encounter with a woman who wants to swap babies with her. Lauren panics and shuts herself in the toilet with her babies, calling 999. Hospital security and the CCTV on the ward says there was no-one there. 
Lauren’s marriage is under strain, she is anxious after the encounter in the hospital and cocoons herself at home. 
The descriptions of her feelings after the birth were spot on, it brought back those first few weeks with all of my children. I think Lauren is drawn beautifully and I felt her emotions. The story itself is a mix of crime fiction and supernatural, and it blends both together.  It reminded me of CJ Tudor’s ‘The Taking of Annie Thorne’. 
A really good read.
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I picked this up thinking it was a standard detective story, but there is more to it than that.  When I realised there was an element of the supernatural (whether real or imagined?) I almost dismissed it, but persevered and am glad I did.
 Those who have experienced the early days of motherhood will recognise how acutely accurate the feelings described are.  Not your average detective novel.
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Little Darlings is a mysterious and quite frightening story inspired by a fairytale in which newborn twins are exchanged for changeling babies. 

Lauren gives birth to two perfect little boys- identical twins - and immediately feels an array of powerful and frightening feelings. Does she love the babies enough? How can she keep them safe? Can she rely on her husband for support? Then, one night in the hospital ward, she encounters a disturbing woman who wants to take away her babies and replace them with her own. Terrified, Lauren hides in the toilet cubicle with her babies and calls the police. However, no intruder can be found and Lauren is referred for mental health support. 

And so the story unravels - is there a horrifying entity trying to steal Lauren’s twins or is she suffering from postpartum psychosis? The story never fully concludes but does present both an insight into postnatal depression and some extremely creepy elements of folklore.
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The story revolves around an alleged kidnapping of twin babies in Sheffield.  The mother, Lauren, is convinced her baby boys are facing a threat from an evil power, but is not believed but instead appears to have mental health issues. A female detective with her own back story investigates the case.  The book has an atmospheric and sinister air, but it was a little too ‘far-fetched’ for me to really get engrossed or really enjoy the book.
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Little Darlings starts off with a terrifying birth experience for mother of twins Lauren Tranter. Following the birth she struggles to cope with her newborn sons and continues to be haunted by a vision which came to her shortly after their birth involving a strange women who was threatening to steal the twins, leading to one particularly terrifying episode following which she is sectioned under the Mental Health Act for her own safety and that of her children.

I’m not a huge fan of fantasy or fairy tales and a couple of chapters in I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this book, but I’m glad I persevered as it soon turns into a very dark and compelling mystery thriller featuring a credible and likeable (and thankfully pretty normal) detective, DS Jo Harper.

Each chapter begins with a snippet of folklore regarding children, and specifically changelings, which adds to the slightly creepy and menacing tone which runs through the book. The book also examines themes such as post-partum psychosis and the perception of women’s mental health.

Missing children is a bit of a theme in the psychological thriller genre at the moment and can sometimes make for tough reading. I felt the issues in Little Darlings were handled sensitively and without unnecessary sensationalism. At the end there’s quite a bit of unfinished business in terms of DS Harper’s personal and professional lives so I’m guessing Melanie Golding is planning a series of books featuring this detective. I look forward to reading them.
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The night after she has given birth to twin boys, Lauren, weary and emotional, has a bad experience in hospital. The feeling that she and her boys are threatened only increases when she goes home.
As the days go by, the whole new motherhood thing is clouded by fear. Lauren is afraid to let Morgan and Riley out of her sight, even out of her arms for a second and refuses to go outside.
Nobody else has seen the dishevelled old crone who displays an unhealthy interest in the twins and when the police get involved the detective is curious and sympathetic but can do little without evidence. Lauren’s husband is perhaps too useless to ring true.
I loved Melanie Golding’s debut novel. Ms Golding shows an in-depth understanding of new mothers and their difficulties and her excellent descriptive writing allows the reader to be intrigued by whether Lauren is right to be worried and horrified by the possible consequences.
 I allow myself to be wary of fairies and changelings – there must be something in it, enough to give me goose-bumps anyway. 
With thanks to HQ Adult Fiction and Netgalley
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Tired and exhausted after giving birth to twins, sleep deprived Lauren hears another mother in the ward next to her singing a very strange and disturbing song, she heads to the toilet and attempts to say to the woman to stop when she is met with something different. Lauren knows what she saw when she called the police to report an attempted abduction of her children, only the Psych Dr puts it down to hallucinations and sleep deprivation.

There is nothing worse than the feeling of not being believed and thank goodness for Detective Harper! After viewing the incident calls from the night shift she comes across Lauren's call - something inside Harper tells her to follow it up despite it being put down as a false alarm. There is no evidence of what Lauren saw, and no else saw of heard anything other Lauren shouting, something niggles at Harper to stay on this case despite there being not apparent case at all.

Soon Lauren is home and settling into a routine that is mainly one sided. I hated Patrick with a passion in this story he was selfish and self centred - he needs his sleep or he doesn't function and basically gives Lauren no help with twins. I know what it is like to do the night shift every night with one child so my heart went out to Lauren doing it with two! It didn't help that Lauren felt she couldn't sleep for fear of the woman returning to take her twins, when she ventures out one day with the twins shes take a set and closes her eyes for just a moment and later wakes to realises she has fallen asleep and her children are gone! They are found pretty quickly and the so called abductor arrested, but something is wrong, Lauren can see it but no one else can - why don't they believe her when she says they are not her twins? They are not Morgan and Riley?

From that moment I actually thought Lauren had gone mad and snapped, she tried to put them in the river! 

Honestly this book will take you to the edge as you question Lauren's sanity, is she really seeing the twins as Changlings like in the fairy-folk tales or is she having a psychitic breakdown. Golding has done a fantastic job of this novel and it was a chilling horror that you never really know what was real and what was just Lauren's imagination.

5 stars
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