TITLE: Little Darlings | AUTHOR: Melanie Golding| PUBLISHER: Harper Avenue | PUBLISHED ON: April 30, 2019 | PAGES: 330| RATING: 5 hooks out of 5 | SOURCE: Copy provided by publisher for review consideration.
This book right here is an excellent example of why I choose to go into most books as close to blind as possible. If I’d gone based solely on the blurb, I probably would have taken a pass on this book as your typical domestic thriller. But this novel is so much more than what it says on the tin, and I’m so glad I gave it a shot! This book grabbed me from the very first page, and didn’t let up until I’d devoured the entire novel.
This novel takes one of my most loathed tropes and completely turns it on its head. I haven’t made any secret of my hatred for this trend of thrillers where no one believes the traumatized female main character, and I cringed a little when I saw that this book was heading in that direction. However, it takes a sharp, completely unpredictable turn early on and keeps you guessing all the way through. Honestly, I spent this entire novel second-guessing myself because the unreliable narrators here are just that good. Every time I thought I had things figured out, the author would pile on a new aspect that would have me back at the drawing board, trying to figure out what was ACTUALLY happening here.
I really loved how vividly the author brings her characters to life. None of them are entirely likeable, but they’re so realistic that I couldn’t help but feel strong emotional ties to all of them (yes, even Patrick…anger is an emotion!). The less-than-rosy portrait of new motherhood that the author paints here was raw, visceral and wholly compelling, in a way that I don’t think I’ve encountered before. My heart broke over and over for Lauren as she tried to protect Morgan and Riley as her world crumbled around her.
The folklore behind the story was a fantastic touch, and added an extra level of doubt to my reading. This book left me with more questions than answers, which would have been frustrating if the writing and detail of the plot weren’t so damn well done. Nothing ties up neatly, there are no right answers here, but it’s so deftly handled that I felt satisfied with just a hint of residual doubt niggling at the back of my mind when I finished reading.
This is a stunning debut, with big ideas and fresh takes on themes that have been saturating the thriller market for years. This novel beautifully showcases that you can absolutely write a new and unique story off the backs of existing tropes. An amazing thriller that I’m sure I’ll be recommending for months to come!