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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2022 Liz Michalski (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A compelling and richly imagined twist on an old story, Liz Michalski’s Darling Girl captured me on page one and hasn’t released me yet. An emotionally gripping demonstration that a mother’s love, when tested, can become a force of nature. I will never look at Neverland and its inhabitants the same way again.” (Brunonia Barry, New York Times best-selling author of The Lace Reader

"A dark and elegant look at a story we all know well. Liz Michalski takes Peter Pan where all the old stories go, where magic is never without a cost, and pixie dust might be more powerful than you imagine. Fantastic!" (Barbara O’Neal, When We Believed in Mermaids)

"A captivating question quivers at the center of the engrossing novel, Darling Girl: What if Peter Pan isn't just a story? While meeting the Peter Pan you never knew, reading Darling Girl is like falling under the enchanting spell of Liz Michalski prose. As with all true magic, there must be both the seductive darkness and the illuminating light: Michalski masterfully gives us both. Darling Girl introduces us to the Darling family decades away from Wendy and Peter, descendants who are grappling with secrets that protect a family mythology and a boy who will never grow up. With a young girl and her fiercely protective mother at the center of a spellbinding story, Darling Girl is powerful and captivating. Neverland and the reader will never be the same again." (Patti Callahan, New York Times best-selling author)

What listeners say about Darling Girl

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

This is not a retelling of am old classic, it’s a brilliant, fresh take on the legacy of the Darling family. This is a novel to sink into, characters to be charmed or horrified by, and the lure of mystery, magic, and the power of love that kept me listening when I should have been doing other things. I won’t give specifics because that’s an adventure for each new listener to enjoy, but I will say I have one criteria for giving five stars: it must be a book I’ll look forward to listening to again, and this is that story.

2 people found this helpful

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Clever, clever, clever!

I loved the way the people in Peter Pan were given nods here. I know they were transparent and a little on the nose, but I still dig it. There isn't a character that I didn't like. I really enjoyed it. (I'm a sucker for retold fairytales.)

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent narrator but the story felt meh

I’m not sure what I expected but this wasn’t it. I’ll be vague as to not give spoilers. There were elements I liked, mostly it being a modern story with ties to the older source material, but the story felt lacking in many ways. On the positive I felt like the reader did an amazing job giving a different voice for each character. I will say I finished the book, something I wouldn’t do if I hated it but in the end I think I just kept hoping for it to turn around some more and it never quite did for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • kw
  • 05-17-22

Fantastic. Loved it.

I enjoyed this so much. I finished it in three days. I can’t wait to recommend it to friends.

1 person found this helpful

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Great

Really like the reader if the story, really drew me in to it. enjoyed. realy

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Slow start, Strong finish.

The beginning is slow and confusing. It took until the middle before I was interested. The ending was very good and I wish there was more. I will listen again to see the beginning with an understanding of what's going on.

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dark, bold, and delicate

absolutely worth the read, but hold on to your childhood, it's going for a ride.

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Would be a great book if it wasn’t about the main character

The main character could have slept through the whole book and been just as impactful. This is really a story about things that happen to Holly Darling and not about how she actually does anything interesting. It’s about a worried mother who watches everyone else participate in a story. I regret buying this book.

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Hits you right in the feels

The exploration of a mother/child relationship and the many layers it has to it was done very very well.
I'm not a mother, but I ended up tearing up so many time at Holly's despair and the chaos of her fight in trying to save her children (though she did infuriate me with her lies).
Saw the end coming, and I didn't mind it. The book was a joy to listen to. I find the idea original, it kept you "hooked" (easy pun), and I sobbed at the end.
Beautiful. What more can you ask for.

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good untill the end

I really enjoyed it till the end when everything happened off screen and magically worked out.