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Darling Girl  By  cover art

Darling Girl

By: Liz Michalski
Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden
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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.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.)

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • LZ
  • 11-09-22

Great Story

I really enjoyed the story and the take on Peter Pan. There is a scene with SA so trigger warning. However I thought the story was very unique and intriguing. The main character did get annoying at times but I understood why her character made certain choices and she ended up growing on me. I would suggest this book for any adult reader who wants a different take on a classic tale.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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I’ve got opinions

Let me start it by saying I really enjoyed the narrators performance she did amazing.

This story was so long for absolutely no reason. Don’t get me wrong I love a good long book, but the length of this one didn’t feel purposeful but rather just a lot of filler that don’t drive the plot.

The most problematic thing about this whole book is the SA scene in the middle of it with absolutely no warning.

Also the character of holly was so annoying to me. I finished the book but it was only because was hoping it would get better and it really didn’t.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An adult fairy tale.

While the book was slow in a few places it was intriguing to hear an adult version of a well known fairy tale. It was enjoyable and the performance was very entertaining

1 person found this helpful

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Gradebook

My first audiobook and I loved it! Such an interesting twist on a fairytale we are all so used together

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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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

This book has a lot of nothing happening

Firstly, the performance was amazing…the story was fantastically boring.

The MC doesn’t grow at all. She lies the entire time, is abusive, does not learn from her mistakes, and doesn’t make the plot move. Everyone else is more involved with the plot than the MC. She is not a catalyst for anything, she just happens to be around as the plot is moving around her. She keeps wanting other people to solve problems, but then cock-blocks them from solving said issues. It’s maddening. Every time she has a chance to make an actual difference, she just makes the worst choice or does nothing at all…literally multiple points where she just goes to bed instead of taking action. So much day-to-day stuff going on and the MC just running around place to place without actually accomplishing anything. The plot-twist was seen miles away, the nods to the Peter Pan characters are just that, without any revealed substance to them. The SA scene was abruptly thrown in without any reason—and then no growth or traumatic ramifications afterwards.

Like other people said, the book kept building like there was going be some major payoff, and it just never happened. The MC wasn’t even part of the climactic resolution. The writing was just lazy…you just had to use your imagination for how problems were solved because the characters never really solved anything or they would say vague things like, “I have my ways.” This story had so much potential to be a meaningful story and it just fell so flat.

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Did not meet expectations

While a promising reimagining of a classic this falls flat. The “twists” are predictable & I saw them all coming. Narrator is excellent!