Cover Image: Darling

Darling

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Member Reviews

I'm not sure whether it was because of the choppy narrative style, or because of the unlikable characters but this was a book I just couldn't engage with.
Perhaps there were too many strands, racism, teenage angst,step parenting,Brexit,disabled child,teenage gangs,for one book to handle.
Perhaps it's me!
 Thank you anyway to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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It looks like I am in a minority as I just couldn't get into this book at all, and sadly gave up on it
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I thought as a debut novel this was a really good book. The author manages to tackle a number of contemporary issues - Brexit, racism - with an admirable lightness of touch wrapped in a page turning novel of love and jealousy. I'm looking forward to further books
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I enjoyed reading this book but it did seem to plod along quite a bit through the middle. Really glad I stuck with it though as the ending was magnificent! Really didn't see that one coming.
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Darling is an intriguing story about a blended family in the wake of Brexit. It starts at the height of the story - someone dies - and moves back to narrate the story of Darling, a single mother with a young son suffering from a muscle-related disability and Lola, the teenager daughter of the man Darling ends up marrying. The story is told in dual narrative; while Darling narrates most of the tale, Lola tells her side through journal entries as assigned by her therapist. The narrative weaves in the social climate after the Brexit vote and how it affected the relationship between the two. Lola, who didn't understand what her father saw in Darling was eager to get rid of her. Darling for her part just wanted to care for Lola, even if she acknowledges the rift between them. 

Both characters have a distinct voice, making it easy to switch from one perspective to another. They each have their own concerns. Darling would always talk about her culture and how important it is for her to nurture and care. She was always concerned with her son's well-being, and her relationship with her husband. She had a bitter relationship with Lola; she despised the girl yet loves it when Lola would show any sign of genuine affection. Lola's concerns were very different from Darling's. She hated Darling and wanted to get rid of her; she would attempt many things to get her out of their lives. She also had teenage issues that she dealt with, something that Darling would use to her advantage.

It does start off slow, but there were a lot of things happening that it would make you forget that someone dies. Only after reading the entire book would the narrative be reflected in a new light. Its tone can be uneven at times, but the payoff is really good.

Thank you to Netgalley, HarperCollins, and Fourth Estate for the copy
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Plot: Darling, a black woman of Jamaican parentage but who has never even visited the island, meets and marries Thomas, a wealthy man with a teenage daughter, Lola, at the time when Brexit has just been announced. The story is told from Darling’s and Lola’s perspective – Darling, who has a young son with a muscle wasting disease and who struggles against casual and not-so-casual racism every day, and Lola, who is not a racist but doesn’t understand why her father has married a black woman.

My thoughts: This was a twisting ride of a book that was really enjoyable and disturbing in equal parts. The open racism from the younger and middle-class generation was honestly shocking to me – I thought they were more open minded! – and the experiences that Darling comes up against are horrifying. But equally disturbing are other parts of the plot that are revealed later in the book, so I can’t give them away! I admit that I did pick up on a couple of the hints throughout, but not all of them, so I loved it when it all came together. This was a very good and thought provoking read that I highly recommend.
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Well this book certainly didn't pan out the way I thought it would!  Plenty of twists and shocks and the reader's perceptions of the characters change as the story unfolds.  
Darling, a black woman, meets and falls in love with Thomas, a white man.  Thomas's  daughter Lola can't understand why he would find a black woman attractive and goes out of her way to cause trouble in the relationship.  It is a damning indictment on racism in the UK especially in the wake of the Brexit vote, some the right wing attitudes portrayed here are scarily accurate.  However, it is also a tense family drama, a thriller with you wondering what on earth is going on at times!  
At first I found the voices of Lola and Darling quite annoying when they were telling their own side of the story, but I soon got used to it and it actually added to the authenticity of the characters. 
I really enjoyed this book and wish the author every success with it.
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A quiet, chilling, slowly unfolding mystery, Darling is a disturbing story of a teenage girl and her stepmother.

Darling had her fair share of abuse as a black woman living in England. The story often goes sideways, exploring her early life and how she was affected by racism from an early age. As a result, the narrative doesn't flow as a domestic thriller usually does with twists and tension, but provides a saddening insight into the sort of life many people still has to endure even today. There's an underlying mystery surrounding Darling White, but not in a creepy, sinister way.

Lola is a bright, but quite intense 16-year-old girl, who doesn't want a stepmother. Especially not one who is the "wrong colour" (**This is what Lola says in her diary. Just wanted to make it crystal clear that it's not my opinion and I don't think there are right or wrong colours when it comes to people.). She complains about Darling endlessly to her diary and her quasi boyfriend, Will, who wholeheartedly agrees with her sentiment and agrees to help her find some dirt on her.

Darling, a nurse by profession, is all kindness in return. All she wants is a family and make her new husband happy. Lollapalooza (as her dad calls her) just needs her affection, over the top love and the endless supply of Jamaican food. Her son Stevie gets along just fine with Lola, so she has high hopes that this whole situation will work out just fine.

As the author alternates the chapters between Lola and Darling, some secrets are revealed. Darling's past was difficult, but just because she wants to hide some things, doesn't mean she has done anything wrong. Or does it? Lola on the other hand has a history of slut shaming, reckless behaviour and general nastyness. Not very promising!

Thomas, the husband is somewhat oblivious and only seems to exist to facilitate the meeting between the two ladies in his life. I have to agree with Lola on the fact that their marriage was way too rushed after three months. If he had a solid reason for this, we never found out. His attitude towards the whole racial issue is strange. When Lola's affiliation with a certain "white power" group comes to light, he dismisses it as a silly teenage thing, not even worthy of discussion. What?

A mildly thrilling read with a shocking end I did not expect, Darling will appeal to those who love getting into people's heads and explore how they are affected by abuse, loss, and mental illness in the family.
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Wow. This book was not what I was expecting. I loved it. It's gritty, it's dark, it touches on so many tough issues and it has given me my first big book hangover in quite a while.  Darling meets Thomas who, after a 3 month whirlwind romance, get married. However Lola, Thomas's 16 year old daughter, absolutely does not want a new stepmother, much less a new black stepmother. Tensions mount. Darling, a nurse, natural caregiver and mother to 5 year old Stevie who is disabled, decides not to rise to the many baits that Lola leaves for her, and tries her best to create a relationship with Lola. All the way through the book I found myself cheering on one of them and despising the other, but under the surface, not all is as it seems. A great read. Highly recommend. You will be thinking about it for ages after.
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I afraid I could just not get into this book. No connection with characters or how it was written. Sorry. Thanks to Netgslley and the publisher for the chance to review it.
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Parent/Child clashes, BREXIT, racism, teenage troubles...well, this book has it all.  A superb book, covering so many relevant topics in today's Society.  I would highly recommend this book - it was a  great read and well written.  I can see it being made into a film/drama.  Well Down Rachel Edwards.  A superb read!
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Darling was a confusing book for me. I think this is partly because it was trying to do a few things in the same time. It starts as a contemporary novel covering racism, focusing on the relationship of white teenager Lola and her black stepmother Darling. Brexit is really not in there so much, just a touch of it. Then suddenly in the second half of the book the novel decides to be a thriller. I didn't like that.
The story is told switching between Lola and Darling. I understand Lola bits were supposed to reflect a teenager girl, but according to her GCSE results and intellectual level. Lola should have been a better thinker. Her blabbering was just so choppy and difficult to read. I felt too much stereotyping in Lola sections.
Lola and Darling's surprisingly spontaneous/poisonous relationship was the only solid thing in the book. There were hints of eeriness about Darling, but I really think her character wasn't shaped convincingly. Also, Thomas was just a background. They met and married in 3 months, but how come? I felt like there was a gap about this flash marriage and the love/desire between the two.
And the ending. I really didn't get what Edwards tried to do with this story. Finished the book really confused.
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A thriller with depth, some post-Brexit and nationalist themes tangled up in the twists and turns of a real page turner. 

It felt like it got a little lost towards the end but the final few pages were worth the wait. Darling and Lola are complicated and well drawn characters - not so much for drippy, dumb husband Thomas. Bit shorter and punchier and more consistent characters and would have been 4 stars.
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I haven't finished this title and I won't be writing a review on Goodreads because I haven't been able to connect with it at all. It's just not going to work this time. The idea is really good and the plot could develop smoothly but I dislike the characters and the writing makes it hard to understand what is going on. I'm sure the book is good and some readers would love it but it's just not working for me. So sorry!
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Thanks to Net Galley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC of this book in exchange for a review.  
Teenage Lola is still grieving for and missing her mum, she is in therapy and thinks she has problems, but then her Dad Thomas meets Darling and Lola’s problems are even bigger.   She will do anything to split them up, she is acting like a spoiled teenager.   Is Lola the only one with issues though?, definitely not, Darling is definitely hiding something,  has a disabled son and hadn’t been very honest with Thomas about her past and her family, she is a nurse and likes to nurture and care for everyone, cooks a lot to reach out to both Thomas and Lola through her traditional spicy dishes. There are a lot of twists and big issues in this story.   I didn’t feel that it flowed well, flipped between Darling and Lola and often difficult to know who was being referred to.
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!! Spoilers !! I think that had the author perhaps simplified the various story strands this could have been a much stronger effort but as it stands I found it difficult to puzzle out what message if any that it contained. We see opinions on Brexit, on racial issues and discrimination, hate crimes and class divides as they pertain to Darling. But even these great observations get lost in the shuffle as focus shifts to Lola, the odd choice of cringey narration style and her own assortment of teen problems and situations. There's even a bonus round plot with local far right local thugs that really doesn't go much of anywhere before ending as a footnote. All of the references to 'care', 'nurturing' and 'nursing' for me at least really gave the game away early so it really was no surprise at all when the word Munchausen was finally mentioned. While this book was a quick, easy read I felt these things made Darling less enjoyable than it could have been.
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Did not finish. Didn’t like the style of narrative or characters very much. Liked the idea of the Brexit setting though.
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Not a fan of this, was very tough reading as didn't feel like it flowed well. Couldn't get all the way to the end as it just didn't catch me with the plotline
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I'm sorry to say that I wasn't keen on this book.  It is written in the voices of Darling, a woman of Caribbean descent and Lola who is the 16 year old daughter of Darling's new boyfriend Thomas. I couldn't take to either of them and lost interest in them and their story long before the end. Sorry!
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*3.5 Stars* 

If ever I got a character completely wrong, then this was it, right here! I spent most of the book with my mind made up about one of it's characters (won't say which one, as I don't want to give anything away) but boy was I wrong!

When Darling White met Thomas, she knew he was something special - their love literally snowballed, and before we knew it, they were making wedding plans. Yes Darling sure loved Thomas - what she didn't love though was Thomas's teenage daughter Lola - such a spoilt and devious girl. The feeling is mutual, Lola hates Darling and she will do whatever it takes to get rid of this interloper. However, Darlings's the adult here, she needs Lola on side, and she decides to make an effort in order to bring harmony to their relationship. She's also a nurse, so she's used to caring for people, (including her disabled son Stevie) and she's determined to show her caring side - if she demonstrates compassion towards Lola then she'll win her over - won't she?

I don't want to say too much about the storyline, as it would be too easy to give away some important snippet that spoils it for other readers. What I will say though is, it was written with great insight, and allowed us to really get inside the heads of the main characters. How then, could I have misjudged one of them so badly. The twist ( when it came) was, what the heck just happened? How did I not work that out. Very clever. Well done Rachel Edwards for managing to pull the wool over my eyes!

* My thanks to Netgalley, HarperCollins UK 4th estate, and Rachel Edwards for my ARC. I have given an honest review in exchange*
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