Book Reviews

Book Review: Darling Girl

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By Liz Michalski

Published May 2022

352 Pages

Holly Darling, Wendy Darling’s granddaughter, runs a successful skin-care company trading on the famous Darling name and her own skills as a scientist.  The future looks bright, but Holly’s life hasn’t been without its share of tragedies.  She lost her husband and a son in a tragic accident that left her remaining son crippled.  Her daughter, Eden, has been in a coma for a decade due to an unrelated accident.  But even in her altered state, Eden is special; her blood is the only thing that can keep her brother, Jack, healthy.

This is a secret that Holly has shared with no one, not her mother or her business partner.  But her world comes crashing down when Eden disappears and Holly suspects that only her father, Peter Pan, could have taken her.  Not only is Eden’s life in danger, but without her, Jack’s health is also in peril. 

This was billed as a retelling of Peter Pan.  In reality, it’s more of a sequel and reader be warned, this is not your childhood Peter Pan.  It’s very, very dark.  To be honest, I’m still on the fence trying to decide if I cared for it or not.

“Darling Girl” interpreted by Wombo Dream

I’ve seen reviews stating there ought to be a ton of trigger warnings on this book.  While I wouldn’t go that far, it does feature scenes with death, rape, kidnapping, and thoughts of suicide, to name a few.  Holly has lost a lot of family in her life and those tragedies bring in a lot of the above mentioned triggers, particularly when the author inserts flashbacks to the accidents and other shadowy moments in her life.  So, I felt for her.  But my patience wore thin when Holly seemed to make every bad decision available to her.  In a way, I understood her motivation but it wore thin.

There’s a character who is a stand-in for Captain Hook and a lot of this novel rests on the theory that Hook was actually the “good guy” in Neverland. I wanted this to be fleshed out significantly more than it was.  I have to wonder if some of Holly’s scenes with the PI/Hook were edited out because their relationship didn’t land for me.  And I think it’s because there wasn’t enough backstory supporting it.

So, while I didn’t hate this book, it wasn’t what I was expecting.  If you like novels on the darker side, you’ll probably rate it higher than I did.  If you’re looking for something along the lines of Hook, then this novel will probably miss the mark.

2.75/5 stars ⭐⭐+

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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