Book Review: The Darling Girls by Emma Burstall

20809458What it’s about

Three women in love with the same man meet for the first time at his funeral.

When world-famous conductor Leo Bruck suddenly dies, the three women who loved him meet for the first time at his graveside.

Victoria, Leo’s partner of twenty years, regards herself as the only rightful keeper of his legacy. Maddy, the mother of Leo’s daughter Phoebe, finds her carefully constructed world is rocked to the core by his death. Cat is shattered with grief for her first great love, a man she barely had the chance to know.

All are Leo’s ‘darling girls’: three very different women whose lives are about to become inextricably bound in a moving story of love, loss, and the prevailing power of female friendship.


Firstly a quick thank you to Becci at Head of Zeus for sending me a copy of this book to review. The Darling Girls follows the lives of 3 women who become linked because the man they were all in love with dies. Victoria, the mother to Leo’s two children Ralph and Salome and his partner of 20 years sees herself as the rightful owner of his legacy but soon discovers secrets which indicate that Leo wasn’t the man she thought he was. Maddy is the mother of Leo’s other daughter, Phoebe and is the epitome of a strong, single mum, giving Phoebe everything she needs. She doesn’t take charity, especially from her dead lover. Cat is young and naïve and believed that she was the only woman Leo really loved. She works in a dead-end job and has to take care of her sick mother which is about as dramatic as her life gets until she’s confronted by Victoria and Maddy and finds out the truth. All three women are forced together to confront not only each other, but their pasts with Leo. As secrets get discovered and lies get unravelled the 3 women soon discover that Leo isn’t who they thought he was.

Right from the opening chapter, you’re introduced to ‘Darling Girls’ Victoria, Maddy and Cat as they all attend Leo’s funeral. You’re dropped straight into the story and there’s no hanging about before these woman end up confronting each other. All 3 of them are exceptionally different from one another  – they all lead very different lives which I liked about this book as there’s no risk of getting confused between the storylines. They were all very well developed and you begin to get an insight into how each of them feel about Leo; before and after his death. All the women seemed a bit reliant and dependent on Leo – particularly Cat who had only known him a year which I would have been able to get to grips with but Leo seemed unbelievable to me. In flashbacks, I didn’t find him irresistible, charming or appealing which is what I would have expected considering 3 women were in love with him.

As the story progressed, I couldn’t work out where it would go and I was expected something really big and dramatic to happen but thinking back, this stories main focus is on the relationship between the 3 women. It was an interesting premise and although I felt like there could have been a bit more too it and it took a while to get into, Emma’s style of writing is easy to read and get fully absorbed in. I loved the setting of the story as they’re all places which are very close to me so I found it easy to picture in my head. I did notice a few typos and inconsistencies throughout the book which potentially could have been avoided. Overall, an engaging book about love, loss, infidelity but most of all friendship of all kinds. The relationships that blossomed between Victoria, Maddy and Cat was absolutely beautiful considering the circumstances in which they were thrown together. This book shows the highs, the lows, the jealousy and really does capture the essence of female friendship.

You can find Emma and The Darling Girls on the following links:

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US


Jenny in Neverland

Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

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