Daisy Darker – Alice Feeney

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 . . .

As the leaves of Autumn are falling Daisy Darker is arriving at her grandmother’s house, for eightieth birthday celebrations. Seaglass, the Darker’s ancestral home, is a crumbling Cornish house perched upon its own tiny private island and 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 . . .

Book Info: Print length: 338 pages. Publisher: Macmillan. Publication Date: 18 Aug 2022

About the Author: Alice Feeney is a New York Times million-copy bestselling author. Her books have been translated into over twenty-five languages, and have been optioned for major screen adaptations. Including Rock Paper Scissors, which is being made into a TV series by the producer of The Crown. Alice was a BBC journalist for fifteen years, and now lives in Devon with her family. Daisy Darker is her fifth novel.

My Review:

This is Alice Feeney’s fifth standalone psychological thriller and I have read and loved them all. I had said in my previous reviews that Alice should be renamed Queen of Unreliable Narrators as no-one does this better, in my humble opinion.

If you think you know what a dysfunctional family is, then you haven’t met the Darker’s yet. Estranged from each other for years, The Darker family have all reunited to celebrate Nana’s 80th birthday on Halloween at her home, Seaglass, situated on a tiny tidal island which is cut off from the rest of world every night when the tide comes in.

Our narrator, Daisy Darker, is the youngest of 3 sisters, born “broken” with a heart condition, her entire childhood was spent isolated from everyone except her mother Nancy and devoted grandma Nana and rather nasty older sisters Rose and Lily.

Eccentric Nana (Beatrice Darker) is a very successful and famous children’s author and illustrator, her best selling book Daisy Darker’s Little Secret has ensured financial security and enabled her to help support her family, although once you meet the rest of this motley crew you might ask why she would want to!

With a cast of 8 characters who are mostly unlikeable, Daisy Darker is an absolute page-turner. Once the entire, insufferable Darker family have arrived at Seaglass to celebrate Nana’s special birthday, the shenanigan’s begin. Firstly, Nana has changed her Will to the horror of her offspring and then at the stroke of midnight, one of the Darker family is found lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen and a strange and ominous poem has been left on the wall.

From that moment on, the book takes a creepy and sinister turn, as the bodies start to pile up, clues are being left to be found and the Darker Family are forced to face up to their past.

Our narrator, Daisy, takes the reader back to her childhood and we learn more about why this family is so dysfunctional and why they haven’t seen each other for years. Each chapter leaves you on a cliff-hanger and I found myself reading “just one more chapter” until 2am last night when I finished the book.

Daisy Darker is simply SUPERB. However, I must also mention Alice Feeney’s beautiful prose. Her writing is absolutely wonderful and I wish I had highlighted some of the hundreds of fabulous quotes from this book so I can share them with you, but alas I was too busy turning the pages devouring Daisy Darker.

Lots of reviewers have used the word “clever” to describe this book. I would agree but also add “sublime”. This really is a masterclass in suspense and a book that I highly recommended to fans of thrillers.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Families are like fingerprints; no two are the same, and they tend to leave their mark.”

PS. I went back to the book and found some examples of these wonderful quotes

“If you spend your present focusing on your past you will never change your future.”

“Everyone you know is both good and bad, it’s part of being human.”

“Childhood is a race to find out who you really are, before you become the person you are going to be. Not everybody wins.”

“The reason why someone is lying is almost always more interesting than the lie itself.”

“When Lily loses her temper, she’s the only one who can find it again”

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