Sunday, April 21, 2024

#BookReview #TotalBookNerd...#DarlingGirls #NetGalley #SallyHepworth #Sisterhood #Friends #Mystery #Suspense #Murder #Secrets

SISTERS, SECRETS, LOVE, AND MURDER... Sally Hepworth’s new novel has it all.

For as long as they can remember, Jessica, Norah, and Alicia have been told how lucky they are. As young girls they were rescued from family tragedies and raised by a loving foster mother, Miss Fairchild, on an idyllic farming estate and given an elusive second chance at a happy family life.

But their childhood wasn’t the fairy tale everyone thinks it was. Miss Fairchild had rules. Miss Fairchild could be unpredictable. And Miss Fairchild was never, ever to be crossed. In a moment of desperation, the three broke away from Miss Fairchild and thought they were free. Even though they never saw her again, she was always somewhere in the shadows of their minds. When a body is discovered under the home they grew up in, the foster sisters find themselves thrust into the spotlight as key witnesses. Or are they prime suspects?

A thrilling page-turner of sisterhood, secrets, love, and murder by New York Times bestselling author Sally Hepworth.

The Sexy Nerd's Review. . .
I’m a huge Hepworth fan. I’ve read quite a few of her books and she never ever lets me down. But, as I was reading this juicy story, at first glance, I’m thinking this is perhaps a four-star read, that is, until I got to the ending!

Hold on to your seats, Nerds, because this novel is going to give you one straight out of the gate! Jessica, Norah, and Alicia are sisters. They’re not biological sisters, but sisters, nonetheless. They happen to make their family what it was because they were thrown into the foster care system. And, because they were in the system, they were often told how “lucky” they were because someone chose to foster and nurture them into the adults, they’d one day become.

But are foster children lucky? I guess that would depend on who you ask, but as for Jessica, Norah and Alicia luck had absolutely nothing to do with their situations and circumstances. Jessica had the closest relationship with their foster mother, Miss Fairchild. She went to her when she was a toddler. She was the mother that Jessica so desperately wanted to have and needed. Miss Fairchild’s love was like a warm cozy blanket and Jessica relished in wrapping herself within it.

One thing Jessica soon discovered about her mother was whatever you do, never cross her because the sweet and gentle Miss Fairchild had a dark and sinister side. The side that would call Jessica names and play cruel jokes and games with Jessica’s psyche. For a child as young as she, Jessica didn’t know how to handle an adult’s mood swings, let alone her foster mother’s.

So, as “luck” would have it, Norah was sent to Miss Fairchild due to her violent tendencies and constant struggles with authority. The caseworkers figured it would do Norah some good to have the proper upbringing and guidance since she did such an amazing job with Jessica, right?

No sooner had Norah joined the group, along came Alicia. She was sent to the home due to an unfortunate accident with her grandma, who swore she’d be back to get her as soon as she was better, but better days never came. Jessica, Norah, and Alicia made a pact and had a special bond that no one could ever break. They were sisters in every way.

Miss Fairchild, no matter how proper and stern she could be, was a jealous foster mother. She was the God in her household and expected all her children to look upon her as such. Imagine the surprise of the three girls when Miss Fairchild began taking foster babies into her fold to thrust their needy responsibilities onto the three young girls. As time went on and they grew stronger and into teenage years, one little girl was sent to their home who captured their hearts in ways they never thought imaginable.

One day, baby Amy was there. . .and when they returned from school, she was gone. And that’s where our story takes off and soars. Wow! I have to say, this story was quite long, and of course, it’s a huge pet peeve of mine, but reading a Hepworth story is so worth it. I found some of the backstory to be a bit much, but after figuring out how this story was going, I completely understood it.

As I mentioned, I started to give this story four stars until I got to the end. If you’ve never read a Hepworth novel, you’re missing out on something truly masterful. She literally slapped the hell out of me with that ending. I had figured everything out. I was so proud of my sleuthing skills and then she threw a twist that I never saw coming. That’s the Hepworth effect for those of you who don’t know. You’ll be reading along and thinking you know so much and then she throws something out of left field at you and you’re like, wait. . .what? Oh, how I live for those moments!

The Sexy Nerd gives Darling Girls five additional foster children for the young siblings to add to their pact. This was one heck of a story, Nerds. It was worth all the pages I read. And when I tell you that ending is going to knock your socks off, hold onto your seatbelts because you’re in for a bumpy ride. Hepworth has done it again! Yassss! Well done! Darling Girls goes on sale on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at your favorite book retailers or wherever books are sold. I highly recommend you get it and start your adventure!

Open a Book and Get Mind Blown!

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