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Darling Girl by Liz Michalski

Darling Girl

by Liz Michalski

Quick take

Revealing dreams as nightmares, this gripping Peter Pan rewrite reveals a complicated story of fate and fortune.

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    Based on a classic

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This book contains a scene that depicts sexual assault.

Why I love it

Jerrod MacFarlane
BOTM Editorial Team

“The stories keep the shadows away. Most of the time.”

The boy in the green tights. The fairy with that special sparkle. Lost boys. Peter Pan is one of those stories so successful it has passed into myth and sometimes can feel seared into the popular imagination. But how well do we know this story really? In her by turns propulsive and enchanting new novel Darling Girl, Liz Michalski surprised me on nearly every page. This isn’t your mom’s Peter Pan. No, this is a much deeper and darker tale—but just as entertaining as the original.

Holly Darling is the granddaughter of the famous Wendy. In the years since her family’s first encounters with Neverland, the Darlings have become fabulously famous and wealthy. Holly has tried to keep her children far from the limelight and her past, believing it is essential to protect them. She is the successful founder of a biotech company, which she started to find a cure for her daughter’s mysterious illness bestowed to her by her father, whose identity only she knows. There are twists aplenty here, with all the classic cast members of the Peter Pan universe present but in completely reimagined ways. But it is all propelled forward by the desperate power of a mother’s love. I was gripped to my chair as I watched Holly fight desperately to keep her children safe from the darkness brought to Earth from Neverland. Who can she trust?

I cannot recommend Darling Girl highly enough. It’s one of my favorite reads in recent memory. A feminist rewrite of a classic story I already held near and dear. Add it to your box and buckle up for a truly magical and wild ride!

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Life is looking up for Holly Darling, granddaughter of Wendy—yes, that Wendy. She’s running a successful skincare company; her son, Jack, is happy and healthy; and the tragedy of her past is well behind her...until she gets a call that her daughter, Eden, who has been in a coma for nearly a decade, has gone missing from the estate where she’s been long tucked away. And, worst of all, Holly knows who must be responsible: Peter Pan, who is not only very real, but more dangerous than anyone could imagine.

Eden’s disappearance is a disaster for more reasons than one. She has a rare condition that causes her to age rapidly—ironic, considering her father is the boy who will never grow up—which also makes her blood incredibly valuable. It’s a secret that Holly is desperate to protect, especially from Eden’s half-brother, Jack, who knows nothing about his sister or the crucial role she plays in his life. Holly has no one to turn to—her mother is the only other person in the world who knows that Peter is more than a story, but she refuses to accept that he is not the hero she’s always imagined. Desperate, Holly enlists the help of Christopher Cooke, a notorious ex-soldier, in the hopes of rescuing Eden before it’s too late...or she may lose both her children.

Darling Girl brings all the magic of the classic Peter Pan story to the present, while also exploring the dark underpinnings of fairy tales, grief, aging, sacrifice, motherhood, and just how far we will go to protect those we love.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Darling Girl.

Read a sample →

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