“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
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 of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.
Melanie Golding is a graduate, with distinction, of Bath Spa University’s postgraduate creative writing program. She has been a farm hand, a factory worker, a child-minder, and a music teacher. Throughout all this–because and in spite of it–there was always the writing. In recent years she has won and been short-listed in several local and national story competitions. Little Darlings is her first novel.
Praise for Little Darlings:
“Golding beautifully blends the supernatural with the everyday, keeping readers riveted to the page as they question what is true. Parents, particularly mothers, will see themselves in both Lauren and Harper.” —Booklist, starred review
“Haunting…Fans of psychological thrillers will look forward to Golding’s next novel.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Golding’s novel will strike true fear into the heart of any parent. At the same time, the novel explores the fierce and desperate love we have for our children, written with beautiful intensity . . . A gorgeous, creepy, modern fairy tale reminiscent of Angela Carter.” ―Kirkus starred review
“Chilling story, beautiful prose. Little Darlings is stunning.” —Clare Mackintosh, New York Times bestselling author of I Let You Go
“Little Darlings is a twisty, chilling exploration of the dark side of motherhood, brilliantly told by a debut author whose skill is evident from the first page. Any parent—any human, for that matter—will have a hard time putting this book down once they start.” —Brad Parks, international bestselling author of The Last Act
“Destined to be the hit of 2019. The scariest book I have read in many years.” ―A. J. Banner, bestselling author of The Good Neighbor
“Deep. Dark. Utterly addictive. I read this extraordinary book in one breathless gulp…Be warned—you can’t unread this story. It will haunt you.” —Teresa Driscoll, author of I Am Watching You
“I love this book! Compelling from the first page to the very last, Golding took me by the hand and pulled me softly but persistently through mystery and myth… A masterfully-told story and a beautiful and nuanced work of art.” —Susan Crawford, author of The Pocket Wife
“Little Darlings is the perfect marriage of taut psychological thriller and nail-biting horror. A changeling-inspired page-turner of note with a highly satisfying ending, it’ll stay with you long after you’ve read it. I loved it and can’t wait to see what Melanie Golding does next.” —Sarah Lotz, author of The White Road
“Dark, compelling and terrifyingly relatable, Little Darlings takes every parent’s worst fear and deftly twists it into something even more horrific. It will have you checking every shadow for what you hope isn’t really there.” —Megan Hart, New York Times bestselling author
“A story that is in turn enthralling, creepy and downright sinister, Melanie Golding turns fairy tales on their heads in Little Darlings, making this one to watch out for in 2019. A brilliant, heart-pounding read.” —Lisa Hall, author of Between You and Me
“Rich and satisfying, this is part who-done-it, part fairy tale, part psychological thriller…Will continue to rattle you, long after you have put it down.” —Felicity Everett, author of The People at Number
“Riveting, terrifying and at times heartbreaking…Melanie Golding’s disturbing portrait of a new mother’s paranoia is superbly written, cleverly plotted and gruesomely beautiful in an unforgettable way. A stunning debut.” —Annie Ward, author of Beautiful Bad
“Little Darlings is brilliant—beautifully written, disturbing and deliciously creepy.” —Roz Watkins, author of The Devil’s Dice
“Dark, richly evocative, tense and thought-provoking. Taps into every woman’s fear that she will not be believed.” —Mel McGrath, author of Give Me the Child
“Viscerally creepy and compelling―a contemporary dark fairy tale that reeled me in like tales of old.” ―Angela Clarke, author of Follow Me