"When the time came for them to sleep through the night, something would be given: the gift of rejuvenating sleep, essential to life. But like every bargain, something would also be taken: it would be another of those inevitable steps away from her and into themselves. Let it go on, she thought, this beautiful torture, the time of sleepless nights. For as long as it will."
Lauren Tranter is certain that a strange woman wants to steal her newborn twins and replace them with her own, but no one else believes her; not her husband, not her friends, and certainly not the police. Detective Harper, however, thinks there's more to the situation. After Lauren's twins get briefly abducted, things seem to be coming together, but nothing is as it appears. She insists that the boys in her basket aren't her own, that they've been replaced with changelings. And when Lauren considers the unthinkable, the divide between fantasy and reality blurs. Can Harper solve the case before it's too late? And will Lauren ever get her own boys back? Were they ever even gone?
I liked the writing enough. As a debut, it was pretty good, but the "debut-ness" sometimes showed, with awkward, repetitive prose and redundancies. There were a lot of Britishisms that took me a bit to figure out. Like, apparently they say "interview" for everything? Like, in America, it's just job interviews and the like, with interrogation and questioning for criminal proceedings, but this book had interviews with suspects and potential witnesses. It was just odd and a little eye-opening. British people use such cute little terms hah.
Golding really excelled at setting descriptions and really painted an excellent scene, but her characters somewhat lacked depth. Harper's character, in particular, seemed irrelevant at first, to the point that I considered DNFing the book. This story had great potential to be a quality horror, but it really wanted to be a mystery thriller instead, and I had to reconcile that for myself. There were times when it almost reached spooky territory but backed away at the last moment, leaving me feeling unresolved and a little disappointed. The ending, for example, had this whole chapter about a seemingly unrelated mystery that ultimately felt like a retcon and a waste of my time. I think if more time had been devoted to building suspense instead of introducing new information and having the pay-off a chapter later, I would have been more invested throughout.
Also, Patrick can go die.