Chilling story of changelings

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Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Book Review:  5 out of 5 star rating

Lauren Tranter has just given birth to twin boys, Morgan and Riley, after a difficult birth.  She’s completely exhausted.  When a strange, threatening woman comes to her hospital room carrying a basket with her own two weird babies and tries to convince Lauren to exchange babies, no one believes Lauren.  They think she’s imagining things.  But Lauren is convinced that this filthy woman is trying to steal her babies, leaving her “changelings” in their place.  When Lauren gets out of the hospital, she hides away at home, leaving her husband baffled.  When she finally ventures outside with the babies a month later, she falls asleep in the park, awakening to find her babies are gone.  They’re soon discovered but Lauren is sure that these are not her babies.

Goodness, this one had my spine perpetually in chills throughout its reading.  It was so realistic and frightening but I couldn’t look away.  It completely held me in its spell.  I don’t often given thrillers 5 stars but this one was a step above the usual.  I could completely relate to Lauren and suffered her fears right alongside her.  As horrifying as it was to believe her babies were going to be stolen and not having anyone believe her and then finally having them taken, how much more horrifying for her to believe that these were not her babies but rather the creatures left by the scary woman.  This just escalates in suspense.  And there are plenty of twists that have you wondering whether Lauren is correct in her convictions or not which really leave you on the edge of your seat.

What I absolutely loved, too, is that the author included snippets of fairy tales/poems throughout her book, such as from “The Stolen Child” by Yeats and from several poems from different authors called “The Changeling”.  This added to the overall darkness of this compelling book.  This fact that this is the author’s debut is quite surprising.

Most highly recommended.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

A powerful, moving novel

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They Know Not What They Do by Jussi Valtonen

Book Review:  5 out of 5 star rating

Joe Chayefski is a highly respected American neurologist. At the beginning of his career, he moved to Finland to marry the woman he loved.  They had a child, Samuel.  But Joe has difficulty adjusting to Finnish life and work.  When his marriage falls apart, he returns to the US, leaving his ex-wife and child in Finland.  His work flourishes in the US and at the present time, he’s married with two daughters.  Animal activists start targeting Joe and his family and it appears that his estranged son, Samuel, may be involved.

This is a many-layered novel which I can’t praise enough. There are all of the social issues it addresses – animal testing and activism, the dangers of social media and internet news and the futility of trying to fix the world but still the need that steps must be taken.  And then there are the in-depth characterizations that Mr. Valtonen has created.  He bares his characters’ hearts and souls to the world.  As Joe struggles to save his work reputation, to protect his family from the violence directed at them by animal activists and to protect his daughters from the internet dangers they’ve been exposed to, the author then turns his readers’ attention to Samuel and his mother, showing the other side of the coin.  To watch these characters’ actions that lead them deeper and deeper into misunderstanding is absolutely riveting.

Animal testing is an issue close to my heart and I find it hard to read bout. Thankfully, this novel, while it delves deeply into both sides of the issue, doesn’t go into specifics about the testing being done.

This is the first of Mr. Valtonen’s novels to be translated into English and I am now longing for his others to be translated.

Most highly recommended. This may well be my top read of the year that has been filled with wonderful books.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review