During the early hours of the morning in the maternity wing, Lauren is torn awake by a grim woman who seems to have stepped out of a fairy-tale, threatening to take her newborn twins. Now tormented with a stalker that only she has seen, Lauren soon finds herself to be the only reliable protection for her children, which comes at the cost of her own sanity. This creepy mystery lifts a veil to another domain that blends reality with fantasy, where the horrors of the world are indistinguishable from the horrors of our own minds.
- Kiera— From Kiera's Recs
"Unforgettable."—The New York Times
"Lyrical and atmospheric." —Bustle
"A satiating psychological horror tale." —Cultured Vultures
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
An April 2019 Library Reads Pick!
"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.
About the Author
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.
Praise for Little Darlings:
Amazon's Best Books of the Month for May: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Refinery29's "Best Summer Thrillers 2019"
Bustle's "10 Horror Retellings Of Your Favorite Classic Stories"
The Nerd Daily's "14 Debut Authors to Discover This April"
Goodreads' "Spring's Most Anticipated mysteries & Thrillers"
The Guardian's "The Best Recent Crime and Thrillers"
"Unforgettable . . . One suspects that the real sorceress here is Golding, whose writing has given a voice to every wronged mother."
—The New York Times Book Review
"A lyrical and atmospheric folktale for the modern age, Little Darlings is a gorgeously crafted story that makes even the grimmest of subjects shine."
"Atmospheric and very creepy indeed."
"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
"A modern story of ghosts and fairy tales . . . Golding beautifully blends the supernatural with the everyday, keeping readers riveted to the page as they question what is true."
—Booklist starred review
"Sinister and sickeningly real, Little Darlings is fairy tale-inflected horror . . . that touch[es] on our deepest, most instinctive fears and fairy tales."
—Foreword Reviews starred review
"Haunting . . . Fans of psychological thrillers will look forward to Golding’s next novel."
"It'll make you question whether mother really does know best or if motherhood is truly the dream it's made out to be."
"Chilling story, beautiful prose. Little Darlings is stunning."
—Clare Mackintosh, New York Times bestselling author of I Let You Go
"Ingenious, chilling, and completely absorbing, Little Darlings is 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
"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
"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
"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
"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 9
"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
"Little Darlings gives a thrill so deep it dips at times into pleasure, at Golding's sheer creativity, at her ability to take our most natural and primal life experience and weave into it our most ancient myths, transforming it into high horror. She keeps the reader spellbound until the very end . . . The psychological intensity of this novel is on par with the best."
—Katherine Forbes Riley, author of The Bobcat
"A psychological thriller with a suggestion of the supernatural . . . Golding provides enough reasonable doubt about Lauren’s view of events to keep readers guessing."