My Darling Girl by Jennifer McMahon
First line: “Ali Alligator?” my mother whispered as she crept into my room, slipped under my heavy quilt, cuddled up next to me on my twin bed.
Summary: With Christmas on the horizon, Alison receives a phone call that her mother has cancer with only weeks left to live. Making the difficult decision to allow her mother to spend her last days with Alison and her family she wonders if they can heal the wounds of her childhood. As her mother moves in, Alison is reminded of the horrors her alcoholic and abusive mother put her through. But with each passing day Alison notices strange changes in the woman she knew. Who is or what is her mother? And can Alison stop whatever has taken hold in her house before it infects her family?
My Thoughts: This is one of those books that is perfect for this time of year. It’s a spooky Christmas story with a dark entity stalking our main character. There is a rising tension throughout the book leading up to the final chapter. Alison is plagued by her memories but keeps hoping for a better end but as a reader we know that this will never happen. Something has taken over Mavis. As the story continues you can see Alison’s fear and obsession taking over making conflict with others around her.
I loved/hated the relationship between Mavis and her granddaughter, Olivia. It was menacing. She is having her call her a strange name and keeping secrets from Alison. You instantly feel like something bad is on the horizon. As more is revealed about who Mavis really is and her back story the pieces start to fall into place. It is pretty easy to tell what a catalyst for the evil in the house is but it takes a while to dawn on Alison.
The story is more character driven as Alison deals with her past demons and her relationships. I never felt that I could completely trust her and her memories. But I got a shock in the last chapter that gave me chills! Such a fun read for either October or Christmas time.