I’m very into retellings. I enjoy seeing where an author can take a classic, modernizing details and making the story relevant. Darling Girl is more than just a retelling – it’s a reimagining. This is the story of Peter Pan…where Peter is the villain. Like the other women in her family, Holly Darling has had her own entanglement with Peter Pan. She has since moved to the US and is running a successful skincare company while raising her teenage son. But while everyone knows the Darling family, they don’t know their secrets. Like that Holly has another child, one who has been in a coma for a decade and has a condition that causes her to age rapidly. When this daughter mysteriously disappears from her estate in the English countryside, Holly knows Peter must be responsible. She heads to England to find him and save her daughter and uncover how Peter is currently using his charms.
While this could move into overkill (there’s a modern day match for just about every character – Hook to Nana), it works because the author doesn’t force an exact surrogate for every plot point, which allows the story to evolve. Unfortunately, I think the Peter character was somewhat poorly written and there was a disconnect between his life in Neverland and his move to the “real” world that left a few questions in the air. Once the pace picks up towards the end and you realize what Peter has been doing all these years you can begin to connect the dots as to why; however, very little time is spent here. The majority of the book is Holly running around trying to figure things out/fix things. The interesting part is the why of it all. Why does Peter want to be mature and youthful at the same time? Where is his empathy? What is his backstory? How does he spend his days? Because we don’t meet him until the end, there is not nearly enough time to answer these questions. The point of the book is to cast Peter in a new light, yet we spend the least amount of time examining his character. Still, I can’t help but enjoy a story that turns a fairytale on its head without being YA.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Pair with: negroni…spagliato…with prosecco in it