Published by St. Martin's Press on April 23 2024
Genres: Women's Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
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From the outside, Alicia, Jessica and Norah might seem like ordinary women you'd meet on the street any day of the week. Sure, Jessica has a little OCD and Norah has some anger issues. And Alicia has low self-esteem that manifests itself in surprising ways. But these three have a bond that no one can fully understand. It's a bond that takes them back decades, to when they were girls, and they lived on a farm with a foster mother named Miss Fairchild. 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 they thought they were free. But the reach of someone with such power is long, and even though they never saw her again, she was always somewhere in the shadows of their minds. When bones are discovered buried under the farmhouse of their childhood, they are called in by the police to tell what they know. Against their will, they are brought back to the past, and to Miss Fairchild herself. DARLING GIRLS asks the questions: what are we capable of when in a desperate place? How much can we hide the demons inside us? And can the past ever truly be buried?
At first glance, Alicia, Jessica, and Norah may seem like your typical everyday women. However, a closer look reveals that each of them faces unique challenges. Jessica struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can overwhelm everyday tasks. On the other hand, Norah struggles with controlling her anger, sometimes reacting impulsively under challenging situations. Alicia, meanwhile, tends to express her feelings of low self-esteem in unexpected ways that catch those around her off guard.
Despite these obstacles, the three women share a deep and unbreakable bond that dates back to their childhoods. They grew up together on a farm, raised by their foster mother, Miss Fairchild. Their shared experiences have created a connection that transcends their struggles, and they continue to rely on each other for support and understanding.
Sally Hepworth has demonstrated exceptional writing skills by presenting a narrative characterized by vivid portrayals of all four characters, both in the past and present, thus providing a rich, deeply engaging, and thought-provoking reading experience. The characters are impeccably crafted, enabling readers to connect emotionally with them, which contributes significantly to the story’s impact and appeal. The author’s ability to maintain consistent quality throughout the narrative is a testament to her expertise in creative writing.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to review this book.