Published on April 30th 2019
Published by Crooked Lane Books
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and the author via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating of 4.5
Lauren Tranter is exhausted, and no wonder, with new born twins, Morgan and Riley. She just needs to get some sleep, and feel safe. However, this is hard to come by on both accounts since that night in the hospital. She knows what happened to her and what she saw, but finding someone to believe her and not pass it off as the inane ramblings of an exhausted new mother. Someone tried to steal her babies and replace them with her own creatures. A month later, Lauren has finally battled her fear of leaving the safety of her house, but the babies disappear from her side in the park, and when they’re returned there’s something strange about them, they’re not quite how they were, and Lauren seems to be the only one who notices. Desperate to see her babies again, she will do anything to right the wrong that has been done and get them back. But if she’s wrong, she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life…
I’ve discovered that I have a real love for psychological thrillers, so I jumped at the chance to request this one and was absolutely over the moon when I saw I’d been accepted for a copy. The story runs along the lore of the changeling, a creature found in folklore. The changeling’s parents swap their baby with a human baby until the changeling is old enough and healthy enough to return. Obviously, the lore surrounding changelings differs slightly through different stories and such, but this is the easiest way for me to describe it. So, we have a psychological thriller that follows a new mother who thinks her babies are changelings and no one believes her. Count. Me. In. I must admit, at the start I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the story too much as the beginning chapters are centred so much around becoming a new mother and all the things that go with it. I don’t have a maternal bone in my body so kids aren’t in my future and never have been, I’m fine with this, but it did make the initial connection with Lauren difficult. However, this soon changed as the story still centred around the babies and the hardships of being a new mum, but the mystery and uncertainty in the story began to take a front seat alongside this. I flew through this book in a matter of 24 hours between sleeping, and eating, though if I’m honest, I was reading it WHILE I was eating dinner haha.
I believe this story is important. Obviously discounting the changeling stuff, but the new mother’s uncertainties and how she felt after the initial birth of her twins is SO IMPORTANT. I feel that this story dealt a lot with what is commonly termed, the ‘baby blues’. We hear a lot at the beginning when Lauren is holding her twin boys “I’m meant to feel immense love, aren’t I?” she is questioning herself because she expected to love these miniature humans the instant they were born and placed in her arms, but she’s not sure, she doesn’t feel this insane amount of love, and I think she wonders if this makes her a bad mother. Straight off the bat, we have a woman who is questioning her ability to be a mother because she doesn’t look at them and feel overcome with love. That to me speaks volumes. I know a lot of women who have had children, and they will tell you that it’s not like anything else they’ve experience in the world, that the love they feel for their child is incomparable to anything else they’re ever felt. But did they feel that straight away? Some may say yes, but others it might have taken a little bit, especially if they had a horrific birth. Some women still die during child birth, and some women come close to death during childbirth, so not instantly feeling a love unlike any other to this new life you’ve brought forward into the world, is not wrong. And just because you might not fall instantly in love your first child, that does not make you a bad or unfit mother. This is uncharted territory, you’ve never been here before, it’s new waters, it’s going to take time to get used to everything as your entire life has changed. And let’s not forget, every experience is different for every person.
I feel that it was so important to see how Lauren’s husband fobbed off duties to Lauren because she’s the mother, she’s the wife, she is the maternal one. I couldn’t help but hate his character. He could see how much she was struggling, the woman wasn’t leaving the house and yet he was more worried about how much sleep HE was getting. He made everything about him, and didn’t offer any support to this person who he is supposed to love. It made me SO mad, and made me really feel for Lauren’s character. She did speak up on occasion, she did voice her opinions and concerns, but I feel that he just brushed it off like he did with so many of her other issues. This was a woman crying out for help and being ignored by the one person who was closest and who was witnessing the strange things she was doing.
I absolutely adored the character of the detective (I cannot for the life of me remember her name), even though Lauren’s story had been written off as the ramblings of a mentally unstable woman, she still did her best to comfort Lauren and to investigate the claims she was putting forward. She tried her damned hardest to be there for a woman who was struggling so badly, for a woman who she didn’t know from a bar of soap. So this character gets a standing ovation from me, while the husband cops a punch to the throat for being a dick. I really hated him.
The story itself was engaging because you’re never really sure whether Lauren IS just experiencing hallucinations and such due to mental illness and sleep deprivation, or whether there really was a fae woman trying to switch out Lauren’s babies for her own. It’s the thing that kept me reading and flipping those pages deep into the night. The one thing that irked me was, I never got confirmation whether there were changelings or just a mentally unstable woman. I’m still stuck, days after finishing the book, wondering. I feel like it could have gone either way to be honest.
All in all, this was a gripping, thrilling, absolute page turner of a book and I’m so glad that I was given the chance to read and ARC copy. If you like a page turning psychological thriller get onto it asap!