Cover Image: Little Darlings

Little Darlings

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4 Mar 2020 NG feedback/FYI:  Apologies for delayed feedback.  Was double-checking my NG shelves against personal records when I recently noticed this title as requiring feedback.

I have a decline email for LITTLE DARLINGS , so not sure what happened.  I’m wondering if I wished on UK site, and then requested on US site?  But even if DL'd at some point, I no longer have a review copy due to HD failures.

FWIW, I eventually borrowed title from local library & very much enjoyed it—so much so that I gifted it to a few friends.  LITTLE DARLINGS covered much more than originally expected = rated 4 stars.

Thanks so much!
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The Changelings- My title for this book 
This book taps into the oft repeated stories about fairy changelings. Where the fairies steal a human child & replace them with one of their own. 
Although why the fairies should do this is never explained.
The first time I tried to read this book I found the initial chapters so creepy, I put the book away. This time, I read on.
The story is still creepy but I got hooked. 
I actually lived in Sheffield in 1976, and well remember how dry it was, and now the Rivelin Dams' waters shrunk. I remember The fascination of seeing the drowned villages re-appear and how creepy they looked draped in water weed and crumbling.
This story leaves you with the distinct impression, that there is more to our world than the rational eye can see. Again with the ghost stor.
was the mother suffering from post-partum paranoia? Or was there more?

5 stars for creeping me out.
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What a strange story. Thrilling, gripping and edgy. As I was pregnant whilst reading this it completely freaked me out. My heart was aching for the poor mother and skin crawled at the sane time. A chilling must read!
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Creepy. But I loved it! Changelings are such an interesting tale. Put it in to the modern world and you have a fabulous story. As you can imagine everyone thinks the mum has gone mad.....has she?
5/5 on goodreads and Amazon
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A very good read although very creepy. First book I’ve read by the author but I will be looking out for more books in future. It’s very rare ya read a thriller with a bit of a supernatural twist.
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Do you ever start reading a book and think you know where it is going and then it absolutely doesn’t go anywhere near that? Well this is what Little Darlings did to me.

Said to have been inspired by the ghostly folktale ‘The Brewery of Eggshells’, where a mother becomes convinced her twins are not her own, Little Darlings offers a fresh perspective on modern motherhood and postnatal depression. We meet new mum Lauren, whom following a traumatic childbirth has all of her hopes and dreams shattered when she encounters a mother’s worst nightmare – someone is threatening to take her twins if she leaves them alone - or are they? Cleverly for me, I was never sure if this was the case or was Lauren constantly wanting attention or dreaming.

As you might expect, Lauren is terrified with fear, someone is threatening to take her newborn babies and she does the only thing she can think of to keep everyone safe - 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 and it is the report of an attempted abduction which ultimately catches her eye, but the only thing is that it was flagged as a false alarm just fifteen minutes later - why?

What gripped me with this novel is I just had no idea where it was going to go. Was Lauren telling the truth, was someone trying to take the twins, was it postnatal depression, was it all a dream.... no spoilers from me, but this is one book that grabs you, hauls you in and doesn’t let you forget it!
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Little Darlings is the first novel by Melanie Golding, and what a debut! The writer takes us right inside the psyche of a new mother, one who is convinced her new born twin sons are under threat. It's obvious that the mother is suffering some sort of psychosis but Golding writes in such a way that the threat feels very real. So much so I actually had a physical shudder at the end, something that only the creepiest ghost stories can usually provoke in me. Sinister and alarming in parts, but also deeply affecting, I think this one will stay with me for awhile. I'm glad to see that there is a follow up to this in the offing.
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A very enjoyable read.
A well written, page turning suspense novel with a sprinkle of the supernatural. What more could one ask for. Well perhaps a second novel with the same characters? I for one wouldn’t mind experiencing a bit more Harper.

I will definitely be keeping an eye on what the future holds for debut author Melanie Golding.
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Well written, compelling and quite unsettling and creepy at times! It leaves you wanting afterwards and wondering what happened but it's open ended enough that you can make your own mind up.  I found it very engaging and sinister - it draws you in from the very first page and is the perfect atmospheric page turner.
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A well-written thriller/horror creepy fiction, bit slow to start up but when it starts…
Golding manages to put down a creepy feeling, atmospheric enjoyable read.

Grab it if you can!
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This is a very creepy and clever story about a new mother who is convinced that her children are in fact changelings.  I loved the mythology and folklore in the book, which is rather dark at times.  A wonderful read for darker winter evenings but very sad too.
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Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

More than a psychological thriller, no less than a masterpiece.

I could start this review echoing the many plaudits Melanie Golding has received for this novel. They are all true. Yes, the novel is creepy, certainly atmospheric and undoubtedly there is something of Sylvia Plath in the writing of Golding. These are all apt statements that conjure up certain elements of this wonderfully intelligent story that focuses on the anxieties of new mother, Lauren, and her concerns that her twin boys (well one twin) has been replaced with a changeling. The author, with a deftness of touch, intersperses the main narrative with vignettes of contemporary fairy tales once used to contextualise feelings of alienation from one's child, feelings of alienation that we now attribute to post-partum psychosis. The question in Lauren's case is a little more complicated. Has she been manipulated by a third-party into believing that one of her babies is a changeling, or does this belief stem from something more organic, like a psychiatric disorder?  Whilst this is the core of the story, Golding expertly weaves, for me, this novel is about motherhood and our culturally inculcated assumptions about its 'naturalness'. In other words, "Little Darlings" is a thought-provoking, original novel about the social construction of motherhood refracted through the lens of a modern-day psychological thriller. I was reminded of Lionel Shriver's masterful "We Need To Talk About Kevin" when I read this book. Like Eva in "Kevin", Lauren experiences conflicted feelings of motherhood and describes the sheer violence and yes, violation of childbirth. It is a story of silence, feelings unspoken, in a society that still valorises the 'natural' mother. Of course, the universal desire to reproduce does not always come from our reptilian brain but rather from accepted ideology about the proper roles of the sexes. This is where "Little Darlings" is a superior novel about the human condition; it speaks of an absence of feeling as well as a feeling of absence, with the stories we tell ourselves about 'motherhood', as a singular monolithic entity, as its central component. Lauren, brilliantly conceptualised by Melanie Golding, can therefore be seen as a trojan horse for the social construction of motherhood and  a plea for understanding from the many women who still suffer in silence under its inescapable burden.

Simply brilliant.
5 Star Review

Summary:
A terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves Lauren convinced someone is trying to steal her new-born twins. Desperate with fear, she locks herself and her sons in the bathroom until the police arrive.
When DS Joanna Harper picks up the list of reported overnight incidents, 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. But Harper chooses to investigate anyway.
There's nothing on the CCTV, and yet Lauren claims that the woman is still after her children. No one will listen to Lauren – except Harper. And now Harper must ask herself, is Lauren mad, or does she see something no one else can?
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This is such a creepy book.... in a good way. You are never quite sure whether the protagonist, Lauren, is mentally ill or really has seen the mythical creatures she claims has been haunting her. Entwined with mythology and tales about changelings, some of which I knew, this book is creepy, chilling and heart wrenching. Melanie Golding is definitely one to watch
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Little Darlings is an enjoyable first novel, a psychological thriller with an unusual undercurrent.  A new mother of twin boys is convinced they are changelings after someone abducts them.  The supernatural element was clever.
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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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