Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan by Liz Michalski
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, Magical Realism
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 3rd 2022 by Dutton
Taken from Goodreads: In this beautiful, grounded, and darkly magical modern-day reimagining of J. M. Barrie's classic, to save her daughter's life one woman must take on the infamous Peter Pan--who is not the innocent adventurer the fairy tales make him out to be . . .
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.
My Thoughts: Have you ever wondered what has happened with the Darling family? Has Peter Pan grown up? Darling Girl will answer your questions but be prepared, Peter Pan has changed, and his story has become a little darker then in the original fairy tale.
I am a fan of retellings, but only if they are done well. Liz Michalski did her retelling VERY well. I love getting to know the future generations of the Darling Family and learning about how their future has been shaped by Wendy’s visit to Neverland and relationship with Peter Pan. The Darling Family have always had a fascination, maybe an obsession, with Peter Pan and as time went on Peter Pan was not just the boy who could not grow up.
Darling Girl is a book I would recommend to anyone who is a Peter Pan fan, a Darling family fan, or just a fairy tale fan. I will be looking for more from Liz Michalski in the future.
**I read this book as part of the Friends and Fiction Bookclub choice for September (Retelling). All opinions are my own.
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Meet Liz Michalski (Taken from her website): Liz Michalski is a former reporter and editor. As a college student, she spent a semester interning with a member of English parliament, an experience that made her fall in love with London and also taught her how to make a proper cup of tea. (Her first attempt, which involved a tea bag and microwave, almost caused an international incident.)
When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking, walking, or running in the magical outdoors. She lives in Massachusetts with her family, a hive of bees, two chickens, and the world’s best dog. Her latest book, DARLING GIRL, will be out in May of 2022 (Dutton).