“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and  G...

Review of Little Darlings

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

“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.

Changeling: A changeling is a child who is suspected to not be a couple’s real child. 
As the myth goes, a changeling was substituted by fairies. (vocabulary.com)

Often shown in art and literature, the notion of changelings is centuries old. The Brother's Grimm wrote numerous stories about changelings. When the basis of these stories were typically children with developmental diseases or disorders, the rationale of a perfectly normal child having been replaced with a faery child is one that made sense to those living as peasants in pre-industrial Europe. Little Darlings takes this myth and gives it a horrifying modern-day makeover.

Lauren Tranter has just given birth to twins. As a new mother, she's exhausted. The birth was traumatic with forceps being necessary and hemorrhaging the day after. She doesn't have the bonded feeling with the babies that everyone said would happen. During the nights in the hospital, she hears another woman in the adjourning bay with her own set of twins. However, when morning comes, there is no one there. She struggles through the second day and again, when night falls, the woman appears again, singing a horrible, creepy song. This time, the woman offers her a deal. One of her babes for one of Lauren's. Of course, Lauren takes her babies and locks herself in the bathroom to hide when the woman becomes forceful.

Thus starts the nightmare that Lauren's life will become. When there's no evidence of the woman existing and that this event occurred, no one believes Lauren. Everyone simply thinks Lauren is overwhelmed and tired. Her husband is no help and Lauren feels all alone. When the babies briefly disappear after Lauren falls asleep on a bench near the river, Lauren believes that the woman made true on her promise to take her babies and replace them with her own.

Little Darlings is a gritty look into motherhood. In the end, you are left to wonder exactly what really happened. Did Lauren imagine all of it? Is she simply suffering from lack of sleep and a traumatic birth, or even postpartum depression? Or is it a possibility that maybe, just maybe, it all really happened?

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4 Paws Up!


About the Author

Melanie Golding

Melanie Golding is a graduate of the MA in creative writing program at Bath Spa University, with distinction. She has been employed in many occupations including farm hand, factory worker, childminder and music teacher. Throughout all this, because and in spite of it, there was always the writing. In recent years she has won and been shortlisted in several local and national short story competitions. Little Darlings is her first novel, and has been optioned for screen by Free Range Films, the team behind the adaptation of My Cousin Rachel.