By Melanie Golding
Rating: 4/5 Stairs
Which starts like this:
PEAK DISTRICT, UK
DS Joanna Harper stood on the viaduct with the other police officers. On the far bank, across the great expanse of reservoir, a woman paused at the water’s edge, about to go in, her twin baby boys held tightly in her arms.
Harper turned to the DI. “How close are the officers on that side?”
Dense Woodland surrounded the scrap of shore where the woman stood. Even at this distance, Harper could see that her legs were scarlet with blood from the thorns.
“Not close enough,” said Thrupp. “They can’t find a way to get to her.”Little Darlings
I’m not sure how to classify this book – it’s a police procedural, contemporary fiction, mythical/fairy tale, fantasy, and even a little suspense/thriller mystery all wrapped into one. We meet Lauren right after the birth of her twins, and her struggle to care for them by herself in the hospital ward. She’s exhausted. On the second night, a strange, dirty woman shows up in her room, threatening to swap twins with her (mythical changelings) – and no one will ever know the difference. DI Harper is pulled in after Lauren dials 999 in a panic to prevent the woman from stealing her babies.
As I was reading, I had a lot of questions. Is this a book actually about postpartum depression? Is Lauren going mad? Is this truly just in the fantasy genre? By the end of the book I still didn’t have an answer. (But I do think it’s a fantastic look into postpartum depression, and how overwhelmed mothers can feel. I can’t even imagine twins!)
For me, the book was a little slow moving in the beginning. We spend a lot of time in hospital with Lauren trying to navigate this new world of motherhood with two brand new babies. But once Lauren gets home the pace picks up and it’s a page-turner to the end. And the last chapter? I wanted to know more! I could have used more at the end for sure, I felt very invested in the characters at that point.
I really liked DS Harper, and I’m pleased to see that we will see her again in The Hidden, scheduled publication this November! (Apparently that must be the US title? I think The Replacement is UK title.)