When Lauren Tranter gives birth to her baby twins, an incident severely shakes her: a woman went into her room and tried to swap the children. Since neither the nurses nor the rest of the hospital staff saw anybody enter or leave, Lauren’s statement is dismissed as a hallucination by an exhausted mother. Life with Morgan and Riley is hard for her after she has returned home. Her husband more or less leaves her alone and with twins who cry and want to be fed 24 hours a day, Lauren feels dead-tired and hardly leaves the bed anymore. When one afternoon she finally finds the strength to meet some friends in a park, the worst case happens: her baby boys are abducted. Luckily, they are quickly returned, but Lauren is sure: these are not her boys, the evil woman has exchanged them.
Melanie Golding’s thriller plays with the most awful thing that could happen: the abduction of your children. Having two little precious peas whom you would kill for endangered is surely the worst that could happen to a mother. Yet, all though the novel, there is some nagging since you can never be absolutely sure if you should trust Lauren or if she actually is suffering from some mental disorder.
What I liked especially about the novel is the combination of some dark fairy tales with hallucinations or mental disorders. Everybody knows that tales are not true and the magic that happens there is just an invention. Nevertheless, they are fascinating also for adults and even against better knowledge, you sometimes wish for them to become real. Yet, there is this tradition of the gloomy tales that mainly frighten you, even as an adult, and I always wondered where those stories come from and why they outlived generations even though they are hard to endure. “Little Darlings” cleverly rewrites this tradition but does not provide a finite answer to some big questions. You conclude the novel with a slight thrill – wonderfully done.