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August 22, 2022

Darling by Mercedes M. Yardley ~ a Review

by MK French

Cherry LaRouche left Darling, Louisiana at sixteen, but now is returning after her mother's death. She and her children now live in her childhood home, with whispering walls and something on the roof at night. Evil lives in the town, and several children are murdered. Once Cherry's daughter goes missing, she must confront the truth about Darling.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of gothic horror novel Darling by Mercedes M Yardley
August 2022; Black Spot Books; 978-1645481195
ebook, print (270 pages); Gothic horror

It's hard for a pregnant teenager to make her way out of a small town, and within the first few paragraphs, we see how determined Cherry is to make it. With a seven-year-old son that has a genetic disorder resulting in autistic features and toddler daughter, she works herself hard to make ends meet, which others take advantage of. The offer of five years rent and utility free in her childhood home is a mixed blessing, then. No need to scrounge and offer herself up, but she's back where she never wanted to be. And all this in the first chapter!

From there, we see how the other small-town people treat her, mostly badly, and how she mistrusts the few people reaching out to help her. Then the unthinkable happens and Daisy disappears, leaving her fragile hope for better ruined. It's heart-rending, and even though I already had connected with Cherry, this cemented it. The people of the town turn on each other easily, and there's an undercurrent in the book that it's a supernatural entity feeding on anger, pain, and misery. That's never something fully explained, so don't expect a neat answer. I know that's sort of a spoiler, but if you absolutely must have a neat explanation for everything, this isn't the book for you. It explains everything Cherry needs to know, and there are supernatural elements on top of the everyday small-town horrors that can be inflicted upon outsiders or those they deem unworthy. It's a story that rapidly reaches its conclusion, and can make you look twice at people you think you know well.

Buy Darling at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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