Review: Darling Girl by Liz Michalski

Peter Pan is Real. Tinker Bell is Real. Neverland is Real and the Darling Family will be forever connected to it all. Holly Darling is the granddaughter of Wendy Darling, who was made famous when Sir James Barrie took her and brothers story and turned it into a play that we all know. Ever since then the public has been fascinated by the Darling family. About the family, Holly included. Holly has used her name to start a cosmetic company that makes creams and lotion to make you look younger. Life seems perfect but she has a secret. Her daughter has gone missing and this is most distressing for many reasons. 1. She has a rare disease that makes her age rapidly and 2. She’s been in a coma for almost a decade. She has to find her before her father does. Yes, Peter. That Peter.

Holly is not an easy person to like and at times, I did outright hate her. She has made some questionable decisions in her life and it is all coming back to haunt her. She hasn’t had an easy life. The pressures of being a Darling is not easy but she has dealt with a lot of tragedies. Her husband and one of twin sons was killed in a car accident and left her and her other twin son seriously injured. Jack, her son, wasn’t sure he would live. In her grief, she meets and Peter and a few months later Eden is born. It’s close enough to her husband not to raise to many eyebrows as to who the father is but she knows. One day Eden has an accident of her own, she falls from a tree and hits her head. Miraculously, Eden’s blood starts to heal Jack. Holly uses her science background to study Eden’s blood and comes up with a treatment for Jack but it does mean that she has to take blood one from one child in a coma to save the other. I guess it’s easy to judge Holly for her decisions but after thinking about it, would anyone done anything differently? Possibly, I mean she could have been more open with the people in her life instead of keeping so many secrets but I began to understand why. For most of the novel, Holly kept going on as to how dangerous Peter was but there wasn’t much early evidence as to why. She just came off as paranoid and controlling but as the novel went on and we get more glimpses of her past it all starts to make sense. It doesn’t mean, what she did was right but it becomes more understandable.

We also get to meet other familiar characters. Christopher Cooke, a private detective with a hook. Nan, her mother’s housekeeper. Barry, Holly’s right hand man and her cosmetic company. Even Bell herself. It turn out the the line between our world and Neverland isn’t as far as we think. Cooke is also a great romantic lead. He challenges Holly. He sees what so many don’t. That is part of his job as a detective but it’s more than that. Just as there is ore to Peter Pan, Wendy and their story too.