Review – Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Happy Sunday all,

I hope you’ve been having a great day. The weather here has not been great this weekend so while I did manage to get out for a nice long walk this morning I’ve had some time to catch up on my reading and write up some reviews (I am very, very behind on my reviews). Today I thought I’d share my review of the brilliant Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney, I noticed it was a kindle daily deal today and it’s set at Halloween so seemed appropriate. I read this a few months ago and absolutely loved it. I think I can safely say it’ll make my list of favourite books this year.

So what’s the story…

Daisy Darker’s family were as dark as dark can be, when one of them died all of them lied and pretended not to see . . .

Daisy Darker is arriving at her grandmother’s house for her eightieth birthday. It is Halloween, and Seaglass – the crumbling Cornish house perched upon its own tiny private island – is at one with the granite rocks it sits on. The Darker family haven’t all been in the same place for over a decade, and when the tide comes in they’ll be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours. When the tide goes back out, nothing will ever be the same again, because one of them is a killer . . .

My thoughts

Wow, wow, wow!!! I’m a big fan of Feeney’s writing so had high expectations of this book but this absolutely blew me away. It’s one of those books that’s going to be buzzing around my head for a while which is quite an achievement considering how common the storyline is.

Like an awful lot of other books that seem to be around at the moment (or possibly it’s just me reading these kinds of stories) this has an And Then There Were None feel to it. A group of people, a family this time, go to a remote location for a celebration but one by one they end up dead. Has someone else snuck in or is there a killer in their midst.

I absolutely love these kind of stories and Feeney really does it so well. It seems to be a pretty common theme at the moment but somehow the author makes it very much her own. Her writing is brilliant and I found myself constantly highlighting sentences or paragraphs that I absolutely loved or that rang true to me.

There’s a very limited cast of characters in this story, Nana whose birthday they are there to celebrate, her son and his ex wife Nancy, their 3 daughters, Rose, Lily and Daisy and Lily’s daughter Trixie. As you can probably guess from the title the whole story is told by Daisy, the youngest granddaughter and the only one who seems to actually like Nana.

Daisy is, in fact, one of the few characters in this story who is in any way likeable and even then I had my doubts about how reliable a narrator she was. Almost every character in this story is horrible in one way or another. Vain, selfish, manipulative, greedy or cold, this is not a happy or loving family by any stretch of the imagination.

Ostensibly they’re there to celebrate nana’s 80th birthday but as nana believes she may not live much longer they’re really there to find out what’s in her will and they are really not happy when they discover exactly what they’re getting. When the clock strikes midnight one of them is found dead, and then another an hour later. It seems clear there’s a murderer in their midst.

I absolutely loved the way the author made this book so unique. Nana wrote children’s books and rhymes so there are grisly little poems scattered throughout signalling each characters fate. I also loved the way we learn more of the family’s backstory, and how the relationships between them broke down, through both Daisy’s memories and also through the home movies someone is leaving for them with cryptic notes attached. It really brought each of the characters to life in all of their horrible glory.

If I had one criticism of this book it’s that I found my attention wandering a little around the halfway point. I think the characters were just so unlikeable it was difficult to be overly concerned about who would be next (or why someone was killing them). The story became a little repetitive, the remaining characters would reminisce about an event 20 years ago, then one would die, they’d watch a home movie, another would die and so on. It was difficult to see how the author could build the tension back up for the big finish.

However, when the big reveal came it blew everything out of the water. I had an inkling of who was behind it and I was partially right but also completely wrong. No spoilers but the ending of this story was brilliant and completely made up for the niggles I had along the way.

Overall, this was brilliant and unexpected and I feel like I want to read it all over again. Definitely one I’d recommend.

Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an advance copy. This has in no way influenced my review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

2 thoughts on “Review – Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

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