ARC Review: Darling by Rachel Edwards

Author: Rachel Edwards
Publisher: 4th Estate
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 352
Release Date: 17th May 2018
View on Goodreads | Buy from Bookwitty



Lola doesn’t particularly want a new stepmother. Especially not one who has come out of nowhere and only been with her dad for three months. And – she’s not racist or anything – but since when did her dad fancy black women anyway?

Darling didn’t particularly want a new stepdaughter. Especially not one as spiteful and spoilt as Lola. She does want Lola’s dad though. And he wants her, so that’s that: Darling and Lola will just have to get used to each other.

Unless Lola can find a way to get rid of Darling.

I was intrigued by the premise of this story straight away. It is set in the immediate aftermath of the results of Brexit  and I was so interested to read about this setting given that it is still such an ongoing and extremely divisive issue in the UK. Not only that but the racial issue of a white stepdaughter, Lola, and black stepmother, Darling, was intriguing to me. I wanted to know if racial issues would play a major role on the storyline and they definitely did.

The story is told alternately by Darling and Lola. Lola’s chapters were absolutely crammed with teenage angst, hashtags and phrases that made me feel extremely old. Her parts were quite hard to read at first as they were so disjointed and rather jarring. Either her chapters toned down or I just got used to it but I soon got in the flow of the book and about halfway through it became SO gripping.

The story was told in such a casual way to start with as we get to know Lola and Darling respectively and how Darling becomes stepmother. When the plot started to reach crucial points, the pace of the story quickened and towards the end MY GOD so many twists that I absolutely did not see coming.

One problem I had with this novel was the middle man… As in Thomas, who was Lola’s father and Darling’s new husband. I felt like I knew nothing about him. He seemed like such an insignificant background character and I felt that even Lola and Darling were detached from him because there was no meaningful interaction or anything with him. It didn’t feel right to me, considering the fact that HE was supposed to be the whole reason why Lola and Darling were enemies and competing for Thomas’s love and attention. Given all of this, I thought that Thomas should have been much more prominent in the story or at least knowable to the reader.

Apart from this, and overall this book is well worth a read. The ending was so explosive and there were several shock reveals which all lead up the final moment. This book definitely left me reeling slightly and it was one of those endings where I was like… but why?!?!?!? Also, my opinions of the characters did a complete 180 reverse by the end and I did not expect that at all. This book was also really important for its portrayal of racial tensions post-Brexit and how that changed many peoples’ experiences.

The latter half and the authentic portrayal of important issues really saved this book for me (I also love the cover). About half way through I felt like it would be a 6/10 but by the end…

Rating: 8/10



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