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April 14, 2024

Darling Girls by Sally Hepworth ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

SISTERS, SECRETS, LOVE, AND MURDER... Sally Hepworth’s new novel has it all.

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

book cover of domestic thriller Darling Girls by Sally Hepworth
April 2024; St. Martin's Press; 978-1250284525
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); domestic thriller

As soon as I get my hands on a new Sally Hepworth book I have to start reading it.  It doesn't matter that there's a whole stack of books that should be read first -- Sally's books start out on the top of the book pile.  I do this because I know that her books will never disappoint me and that they'll be well-plotted with interesting and realistic main characters.  I also know that I won't want to put it down once I start because I have to see how it ends.  And even though I have been known to read the end of a book before I get there,  I don't do that with her books because along with a great ending, there are always twists and turns that keep the book exciting and I don't want to miss a page!

Jessica, Alicia, and Norah are all foster children living on a farm with their loving foster mother Miss Fairchild.

But things aren't always what they appear to be. Miss Fairchild runs her home with strict rules and punishments and is never to be talked back to...ever.  The three girls bonded and referred to themselves as sisters.  Jessica was the first foster child and was 5 years old when she moved to her new foster home.  She and her foster mother bonded and she felt like she had finally found a home filled with love and attention.  But when Norah shows up, all of the attention goes to her.  Norah at just 11 has been in lots of foster homes and knows how to handle a foster parent like Miss Fairchild.  Alicia is 12 when she comes to live at the farm.  The 'sisters' knew that they had to escape the farmhouse and they left together as soon as they got a chance.

The second timeline is 25 years later and the three girls are grown up but are still feeling the effects of the time with Miss Fairchild.  Jessica has OCD, Norah has problems with anger issues and Alicia is a social worker who works to place children in good foster homes.  They are surprised when the police contact all three of them and want to talk to them about bones recently found at the farmhouse.  After doing testing, it was determined that the death occurred during the time that the three girls lived there and the police want to know what they remember and if they were involved in the death.  The police ask all three women to go back to the town they grew up in -- somewhere they have all avoided since they escaped twenty-five years earlier. What repercussions will they face being back in the town with so many bad memories?  And what did they really know about the death?  With the story being told in alternating chapters by each of the three women, the reader is able to get a clear picture of their lives in foster care as well as their problems as adults.  One thing that continues is the strength of their relationship with each other and how much they depend on   'sisters'.

I absolutely loved this book and it's my new favorite Sally Hepworth novel.   The three sisters were well written and it was easy to quickly understand their lives.  I enjoyed how they went from strangers to sisters and how they took care of each other and stayed close even after they escaped.  Miss Fairchild presents a pretty picture to the town but is basically an evil person more interested in the money she is making for fostering children than she is in the lives of the children she fosters.  This is a book that you don't want to miss!

Buy Darling Girls at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.

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  1. Wow. I've never read anything by this author, but I'm certainly going to give this book a try. It sounds exciting, and it will probably keep me up reading all night. Thanks for the tip.