“The trouble with little white lies
is that they sometimes grow up to become big dark ones.”
Daisy Darker, the youngest grandchild (and our narrator) inspired her grandmother’s most famous book “Daisy Darker’s Little Secret”. She has always been her Nana’s favourite. Now, she is returning to her Nana’s remote Cornish house to celebrate her 80th birthday.
“The house is swollen with secrets and damp.”
Daisy has had a unique childhood. The youngest of three girls and mostly unloved by her parents, she was born with a congenital heart defect (a broken heart) and was in and out of hospital. Daisy was extremely jealous of her older sisters. They went off to school while she was home-schooled. They had friends, while she had none except fictional characters in the many books she read. A bookworm, Daisy had few social skills.
My first thought after reading this was “That was fun!“. Admittedly, that is not my usual reaction after reading a thriller. Though it was a ‘dark’ novel, it was done in an innocent way – reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”.
When Beatrice Darker, an eccentric children’s author, invites her entire family to her home to celebrate her 80th birthday – it is a family gathering like no other. Her house, Seaglass, is located on a remote Cornish island, accessible only when the tide is at its lowest. Once the family is cut off from the mainland – with no internet or cell phone service – members of the family begin to die… one by one… Each death is preceded by the discovery of a Darker family movie on VHS with a message attached to each one.
Told within chapters that count down until the hour when low tide arrives and they can leave the island, the entire novel takes place over October 30-31 and definitely has a Halloween vibe. Each member of the Darker family are riddled with suspicion of the others. No one knows who to trust… This is the epitome of a dysfunctional family. Sibling jealousy abounds – as do dark family secrets.
If you love quirky, eccentric characters in remote and atmospheric settings then this just might be the novel for you. A perfect read for Halloween.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I was invited to read by Claire McLaughlin and was offered a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Flatiron Books via NetGalley.
Publication date: August 30, 2022 Publisher: Flatiron Books/Macmillan Publishers
ISBN: 9781250843937 ASIN: B09NJ8QK38 352 pages
Flatiron Books has provided a .pdf Reading Group Guide for “Daisy Darker”
“…the secret of having it all is knowing that you already do.”
“Families are like fingerprints; no two are the same, and they tend to leave their mark.”
“Childhood is a race to find out who you really are, before you become the person you are going to be. Not everybody wins.”
“Subjects that sting are best avoided when you’ve already been stung too often.”
“Some people drink to drown their sorrows; others drink so they can swim in them.”
“Unresolved conflict spreads like a cancer in human relationships, and sometimes there’s no cure.”
“Life is a performance, and we don’t all like the scripts we’re given; sometimes it’s best to write your own.”
“Apprehension is the mother of our mistakes, and tries to warn us before we make them, but we don’t always listen to our mothers.”
“Unpleasant thoughts tend to outstay their welcome, just like unpleasant people.”
Alice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent 15 years at the BBC, where she worked as a Reporter, News Editor, Arts and Entertainment Producer and One O’clock News Producer.
Alice is has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside, where she lives with her husband. She writes in her shed with her dog; a giant black Labrador who is scared of feathers.
Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was a New York Times and international bestseller. It has been translated into over twenty languages, and is being made into a TV series by Ellen DeGeneres and Warner Bros. starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Her second novel, I Know Who You Are, was published in 2019. His & Hers is her third novel which is soon to be made into a TV series starring Jessica Chastain. Rock Paper Scissors is her fourth novel and Daisy Darker is her fifth.
You can connect with Alice @alicewriterland on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.