Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Darling Girls by Sally Hepworth

SISTERS, SECRETS, LOVE, AND MURDER... Sally Hepworth’s new novel has it all.

For as long as they can remember, Jessica, Norah, and Alicia have been told how lucky they are. As young girls they were rescued from family tragedies and raised by a loving foster mother, Miss Fairchild, on an idyllic farming estate and given an elusive second chance at a happy family life.

But their childhood wasn’t the fairy tale everyone thinks it was. Miss Fairchild had rules. Miss Fairchild could be unpredictable. And Miss Fairchild was never, ever to be crossed. In a moment of desperation, the three broke away from Miss Fairchild and thought they were free. Even though they never saw her again, she was always somewhere in the shadows of their minds. When a body is discovered under the home they grew up in, the foster sisters find themselves thrust into the spotlight as key witnesses. Or are they prime suspects?

A thrilling page-turner of sisterhood, secrets, love, and murder by New York Times bestselling author Sally Hepworth.

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication April 23, 2024
 by St. Martin's Press
3.5/5 stars

Reviewing this book is a bit tricky for me. I've been a fan of Sally Hepworth since her first book, but I've had mixed feelings about some of her later works. So, I never really know what to expect. However, I finished this book in just a day and a half, which says a lot about how I felt about it. I was genuinely intrigued by the mystery and couldn't wait to see how it all played out.

I quickly connected with the three young girls, especially enjoying the backstory more than the present-day plot. Norah (with an h) was my favorite along with her three dogs. They added a nice touch of humor, although given the serious subject matter feels somewhat insensitive of me.

The story is told from the perspectives of each in both the past and present, with an additional mysterious narrative from an unknown character. While this added an interesting element, I did find the story to be a bit long-winded at times. As the book wrapped up, I had to suspend my disbelief and rethink some earlier parts, which left me feeling a bit disappointed with the ending.

Overall, this book touches on some sensitive topics that may require trigger warnings for some readers. However, to say what they are would feel like spoilers.

My thanks to St. Martin's Press for a digital ARC in exchange for a honest review.

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