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Wendy, Darling

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A lush, feminist re-imagining on what happened to Wendy after Neverland, for fans of Circe and The Mere Wife. For those that lived there, Neverland was a children's paradise. No rules, no adults, only endless adventure and enchanted forests - all led by the charismatic boy who would never grow old. But Wendy Darling grew up. She left Neverland an A lush, feminist re-imagining on what happened to Wendy after Neverland, for fans of Circe and The Mere Wife. For those that lived there, Neverland was a children's paradise. No rules, no adults, only endless adventure and enchanted forests - all led by the charismatic boy who would never grow old. But Wendy Darling grew up. She left Neverland and became a woman, a mother, a patient, and a survivor. Because Neverland isn't as perfect as she remembers. There's darkness at the heart of the island, and now Peter Pan has returned to claim a new Wendy for his lost boys...


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A lush, feminist re-imagining on what happened to Wendy after Neverland, for fans of Circe and The Mere Wife. For those that lived there, Neverland was a children's paradise. No rules, no adults, only endless adventure and enchanted forests - all led by the charismatic boy who would never grow old. But Wendy Darling grew up. She left Neverland an A lush, feminist re-imagining on what happened to Wendy after Neverland, for fans of Circe and The Mere Wife. For those that lived there, Neverland was a children's paradise. No rules, no adults, only endless adventure and enchanted forests - all led by the charismatic boy who would never grow old. But Wendy Darling grew up. She left Neverland and became a woman, a mother, a patient, and a survivor. Because Neverland isn't as perfect as she remembers. There's darkness at the heart of the island, and now Peter Pan has returned to claim a new Wendy for his lost boys...

30 review for Wendy, Darling

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I’m addicted to Peter Pan universe! I think only this year I might have read more than five retellings about Peter- Wendy Darling and lost boy stories made me dream more about Neverland which ends with nightmares! I have to admit I always find myself dragged into the dark and morbid parts of the story! After reading this book, I’m sure everyone change their minds about getting a golden ticket from Neverland because nothing as it’s portrayed at the previous books. It was bleaker, darker, scarier! I’m addicted to Peter Pan universe! I think only this year I might have read more than five retellings about Peter- Wendy Darling and lost boy stories made me dream more about Neverland which ends with nightmares! I have to admit I always find myself dragged into the dark and morbid parts of the story! After reading this book, I’m sure everyone change their minds about getting a golden ticket from Neverland because nothing as it’s portrayed at the previous books. It was bleaker, darker, scarier! It’s not a good place for Wendy and her brothers anymore. Do you wanna know what happened to Wendy, her brothers John, Michael? Did they live happily ever after? Nope, they didn’t because in real world there is no bloody happily ever after according to this story that highly agree! Their story has no resemblances with fairytales. On contrary, they include PTSD, abuse, mental illness, so many personal dramas! Wendy became badass adult and a lovely mother. But when her childhood friend you missed returns back to kidnap your child what would you do? Yeah, Wendy has to return back to the place where her nightmares started to save her daughter Jane! I liked story telling style including different timelines and both Wendy and her daughter’s voices. And hidden monsters, psych wards, abuse, inner fears of children scared the living daylights out of me! I loved Wendy! She was survivor, warrior, flawed, traumatized but trying to stay strong after being controlled by oppressive characters for years. The author takes us to the journey giving parts of Wendy’s first trip to Neverland, her returning back and her daughter Jane’s time at there after she’s been kidnapped. This true dark, wild, terrifying version of the story truly captures your attention! It’s not only bleakest, depressing retelling of the story but it is also great psychological thriller with great character analysis. I enjoyed it a lot and finished in one sit! Highly recommended to great fans of Neverland and readers who aren’t afraid of crossing the dark side to experience very different version of story! Special thanks to NetGalley and Titan Books for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    Wendy, Darling is a fabulous, dark reimagining of the Peter Pan story and particularly Wendy’s life after Neverland. The story is told primarily in two timelines. The first starts in 1917, Wendy has never forgotten Neverland unlike her brothers, but no one believes her and she’s committed to St.Bernadettes, an asylum where treatments are harsh and dehumanising. The other timeline is in 1931, Wendy is now a mother of a daughter and she senses that Peter has returned and is upstairs in her daughte Wendy, Darling is a fabulous, dark reimagining of the Peter Pan story and particularly Wendy’s life after Neverland. The story is told primarily in two timelines. The first starts in 1917, Wendy has never forgotten Neverland unlike her brothers, but no one believes her and she’s committed to St.Bernadettes, an asylum where treatments are harsh and dehumanising. The other timeline is in 1931, Wendy is now a mother of a daughter and she senses that Peter has returned and is upstairs in her daughter’s room. I was immediately drawn into the story, there’s a foreboding atmosphere and it was hard to stop reading. I always enjoy a good retelling and A.C.Wise has created a wonderful continuation of the Neverland story exploring a whole range of ideas below the surface of the original book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ☆Pelumi☆ (On major hiatus)

    OUT OF FIVE ACTUAL RATING: 4.5 PLOT: 4.5 CHARACTERS: 4 WORLD BUILDING: 4 This feminist retelling of Peter pan is something i needed to read approximately 7 years ago, Thank you very much! This was so so good, I can't even express it like wow! This was such an amazing read!! I knew it was going to be good but somehow the ending still blew my mind. This book is dark, scary and so wonderful! To all those who like Peter pan, RIP because you can never see him the same way after reading this! As someone who OUT OF FIVE ACTUAL RATING: 4.5 PLOT: 4.5 CHARACTERS: 4 WORLD BUILDING: 4 This feminist retelling of Peter pan is something i needed to read approximately 7 years ago, Thank you very much! This was so so good, I can't even express it like wow! This was such an amazing read!! I knew it was going to be good but somehow the ending still blew my mind. This book is dark, scary and so wonderful! To all those who like Peter pan, RIP because you can never see him the same way after reading this! As someone who felt indifferent to Peter Pan even when I was a kid, this made me like him a lot less. I feel like throwing this book into everybody's face and screaming read it! I could see the hard work the author put into this and it paid off because she has won me over. The plot itself was straightforward. Wendy, Darling our dearly beloved who visited Neverland and had the time of her life playing mother there is back! But this time, she's older, she's an actual mother and she has a family of her own. Her life is ok, I mean, she has a family now and is surrounded by love but then...Peter comes back and he needs a new Wendy to play mother and to love him. When Wendy's daughter is taken away, she must journey to Neverland a so-called dream filled land and face her past to save her child! I won't lie, they were points when I grew frustrated because I felt things were too slow but even then, it felt right? intentional? I don't know, but I kind of liked the suspense and build up of frustration. IT JUST MADE THE ENDING MUCH MORE SATISFACTORY Neverland is not as it appears to be in this retelling Are you one of those kids who dreamed of travelling there to have the time of your life?? Muahahaha, that's about to change. When you read this, you really begin to question what you knew as a kid and what might be the actual reality of things. What's fact and what's folly? Who is the real villain of the story?? Is it really Captain Hook?? Portraying real issues like PTSD, mental illness, abuse, misogyny and so on we really are engulfed into a different world where fairy tales are not as they appear to be. After all, there's always a balance to things. Good to equate the bad and bad to equate the good! The characters were so well made and complex. We could see each of them playing a significant role in this book from Wendy to her brothers and her friends and then the lost boys on the Island. No one is truly left behind in development. In a book, I'm all about the characters and this one delivered quite well in that aspect so I stan! The world building was perfect! Although, it literarily borrowed from the actual Peter pan story, I loved it nonetheless! The story alternating between when Wendy was a kid to when she's all grown up really helped us to catch a glimpse from both sides and that just lures you into the story. And the multiple POVs from both mother and daughter was as cute as it was essential to the story. The LGBTQ+ rep was not lost on me! Is it just me or did we get a polyamory rep in here?!! Damn! A.C really didn't hold back on this did she? I loved the reading experience so so much and yes, I would recommend it to every single person especially those who watched Peter pan as a child! There's no real happy ending in the real world and A.C Wise setout to prove that in this retelling. I mean, c'mon, the world is not all sweets and roses, is it? Pre review thoughts EDIT: Finished this and honestly, the author didn't give themselves much credit. Retelling of Peter pan?? I think not!! More like Coraline meets Peter pan but make it darker I enjoyed this thoroughly...RTC tomorrow Rep: Poly queer couple and asexual MC I got an ARc you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the feminist retelling of Peter pan that we didn't know we needed I've started and honestly, I'm so sucked in! The setting, the interactions, the absolute darkness... Wow, I can't wait to finish!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    When Wendy Darling was a child she was taken from her bed at night and transferred to the wonderful world of Neverland, to live with Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. When she returned no-one believed her story. She became distrusted and feared and the only place for such a woman as her was behind bars. And so Wendy learned to keep her truths firmly locked inside of her. Years passed in peace and relative happiness until, one night, Peter Pan returned. This time, he did not come to take his Wendy away When Wendy Darling was a child she was taken from her bed at night and transferred to the wonderful world of Neverland, to live with Peter Pan and his Lost Boys. When she returned no-one believed her story. She became distrusted and feared and the only place for such a woman as her was behind bars. And so Wendy learned to keep her truths firmly locked inside of her. Years passed in peace and relative happiness until, one night, Peter Pan returned. This time, he did not come to take his Wendy away again, not when she had performed the ultimate sin of growing up, and his sights were set on someone else, instead. This someone was Wendy's own daughter, Jane. I am interested in any retelling but do sometimes find too much of the original remain inside the new version of it. By setting this story so many years later, Wise ensured this felt fresh and exciting throughout, whilst still retaining the whimsy and wonder present in its template. One of my favourite aspects of this book was the brilliant conjuring of emotion related to setting. As Wendy traversed both this world and Neverland the reader became aware of every small alteration in mood and feeling that the place she was in evoked. Examples such as the one below, when Wendy was entering an asylum, really stood out to me: “The air changes immediately, heavy and dim. Wendy feels the loss of the sky overhead like a stolen breath. She hadn’t realised how much comfort she had been drawing from that stretch of blue.” And this one, when a grown Wendy returns to Neverland, for the first time : “Her pulse falls out of time with the tide, beating a more complicated rhythm - half love, half fear… This is the place her heart belongs; this is the place that stole her daughter away. The first time she was here, everything seemed uncomplicated. And now? Is this what growing up means, the thing that terrifies Peter so? As a child she only saw bright colours, pure sunlight, or utter dark. All of Neverland is built around those stark contrasts - the sun becoming the moon in the blink of an eye, the sharp demarcation between beach and forest, Hook and his pirates versus Peter and his boys.” You can see, in both examples, how closely linked place and time were to both emotion and action. I loved witnessing this consistent mirroring, that featured throughout. I’m also glad a confrontation of the racism of the original text was included. Adult Wendy makes a friend called Mary White Dog, who reminds her of Tiger Lily. The latter’s culture, race, and identity was assumed from her skin colour, and through Peter Pan’s assertions, but Wendy learns from Mary that much of it may have been false. Tiger Lily’s mistreatment continues to be explored as she later enters into the story. Much of this book was a whimsical fantasy tale, but also so much of it focused on real-world problems, such as racism and misogyny, that feature just as prominently in Neverland as out of it. Wendy and Jane were two strong protagonists and their joint stories highlighted the atrocities that occurred to both of them and the women surrounding them. They were subdued for a while but struggled to fight back against their oppression. Wise let their voices by heard and they were unabashed at the noise they made. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, A.C. Wise, and the publisher, Titan Books, for this opportunity.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    This was a particularly hard book to review. My love for it is too great. I didn't want to tell anyone else about it because how could anyone ever love this book the way I do? This book is so special, so very perfect, it's like A.C. Wise came down from the heavens and handed this book to me. Wendy's never forgotten Neverland and never stopped missing Peter. She's adjusted to life, but he's still in the back of her mind. But when he does finally come back, it's not her he takes, but her daughter Jan This was a particularly hard book to review. My love for it is too great. I didn't want to tell anyone else about it because how could anyone ever love this book the way I do? This book is so special, so very perfect, it's like A.C. Wise came down from the heavens and handed this book to me. Wendy's never forgotten Neverland and never stopped missing Peter. She's adjusted to life, but he's still in the back of her mind. But when he does finally come back, it's not her he takes, but her daughter Jane. Wendy has something no other mother of a Lost Boy has, the knowledge of where her child has gone and who has taken her, and she will get Jane back. The story is woven from different perspectives, like a braid, twisting and turning. Wendy, chasing her daughter, Jane, unsure and trying to get back home, and Wendy's time between Peter and the life she has now. As much as I want to keep this book all to myself, even more than that I want everyone to read it. I want to scream to the world that every fantasy character has a mother, and she will tear apart the world to protect her child. Thank you to the author for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    All children, except one, grow up. And it is that exceptional one that has become such a legendary emblem of defiant youth and invincible spirit of adventure. Or something much darker. Depends on your interpretation. A.C.Wise’s interpretation is definitely down the dark path, but this book isn’t so much about the ageless boy as it is about his once upon a time friend (or, as Wise casts her, victim) Wendy. Wendy Darling did grow up. And didn’t have the easiest time of it. While her brothers promp All children, except one, grow up. And it is that exceptional one that has become such a legendary emblem of defiant youth and invincible spirit of adventure. Or something much darker. Depends on your interpretation. A.C.Wise’s interpretation is definitely down the dark path, but this book isn’t so much about the ageless boy as it is about his once upon a time friend (or, as Wise casts her, victim) Wendy. Wendy Darling did grow up. And didn’t have the easiest time of it. While her brothers promptly conditioned themselves to forget their time in Neverland, Wendy was never able to do that, which causes much family strife and resulted in her eventual lock up in an asylum…because that’s what was done with difficult women at the time. Eventually she got out, conditional to an arranged by her brother marriage and had a daughter of her own. And was happy enough until a boy, that boy, showed up and stole her daughter away. At which time Wendy went into proper mamabear mode, remembered her flying lessons and took off to Neverland to save young Jane from the clutches of the evil boy/man. And evil is pretty much how Pan is presented through the entire novel. Not just general evil, but the oppressive MeToo era kind, for casting Wendy into the traditional mother role, for his expectations and manipulations. Most of the original story is recast in a light so sinister, you’d think it’s the original Nosferatu or something. Which is actually…fine. It’s understandable. There is indeed a certain darkness in Neverland just below the superficial fun and games. I’m not sure it was intended that way, in fact personally I’d wager it wasn’t, but it can be easily interpreted as such, specifically from a modern/woke brain perspective. Brom, the writer and artist, understood that and utilized it perfectly in his darkly luminous retelling of the novel. Wise didn’t want to just settle for horrortinged approach, she went for the feminist angle. Which worked to an extent, since women were treated (more) deplorably back in the day, especially women who challenged the societal norms, but there’s something about having such a beloved character (from one of my all time favorite stories no less) cast in this role of a vile oppressor that didn’t really sing for me. And there’s a lot here about oppression. The title itself (this is quite clever, actually) reflects how patronizing calling someone darling can be. Wherein our intrepid protagonist is very proud of being a Darling, she’s never happy about being darling. And I suppose babe/baby/bae was out of the question for the times and culture or she’s take that on too. Pan can be easily accused of being cruel, but his version of it was always more along the lines of the unthinking callous variety of arrogant youth, not the evil patriarch kind. And so all Wise tries to make those shoes fit, it just doesn’t quite work. In fact, one might argue her own brothers, one through control and one through indifference and both through denial might have harmed Wendy more than a boy who once taught her to fly. Wise’s is a hyperwoke perspective, she infuses modern sexuality, awareness and ideas into her narrative, Wendy’s marriage is most unconventional in real life as it was in Neverland, and she’s all about fighting the power once she gets back to Neverland, but in the end of the day the author’s messages come through as way too heavyhanded and nowhere near exciting or original enough to compete with the magic of Neverland, real or Wise’s version thereof. The Neverland always wins. The timeless appeal of timelessness simply cannot be denied. Outside of the fact that the author essentially utilizes one of my favorite stories as a message delivery platform, I also didn’t really love the writing. And I’ve read Wise before and enjoyed it, but this book, while technically perfectly decent, just seemed so overwritten. The approach to narrative was on a very microscale and it was (and this is as good as I can describe it) aggressively emotional and emotive. All the innards on the outside. Elaborately, exhaustively, exhaustingly so. Arguably appropriate for feminist fiction, but it did nothing for pacing and overall dynamism of the story. But otherwise (and I know that’s a huge but, but still) it was a pretty interesting read. Possibly because I love Neverland so much, any fictional revisit is fun, possibly because the fan of classic children’s tales and a fan of scary stories in me like the marriage of the genres. I didn’t love the book, that much is obvious by now, but it made for an intriguing, somewhat frustrating, but fairly entertaining read. Thanks Netgalley. This and more at https://advancetheplot.weebly.com/

  7. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    2.75 stars “Anger became her habit, Neverland her defense.” The story of Peter Pan and Wendy is a classic that originated from the play Peter Pan, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by Scottish Playwright J.M. Barrie, who is said to have written about the character of Peter (most likely) based on his older brother David, who died in an ice-skating accident the day before his 14th birthday. The play premiered in 1904 followed by the first written edition of that story as Peter and Wendy in 1911. I gr 2.75 stars “Anger became her habit, Neverland her defense.” The story of Peter Pan and Wendy is a classic that originated from the play Peter Pan, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up by Scottish Playwright J.M. Barrie, who is said to have written about the character of Peter (most likely) based on his older brother David, who died in an ice-skating accident the day before his 14th birthday. The play premiered in 1904 followed by the first written edition of that story as Peter and Wendy in 1911. I grew up loving Disney’s Peter Pan in form of the movie from 1953 as well as the book with all the other familiar characters and illustrations that hold a place with me as one of my most vivid memories and stories I grew up with among a few others. This may explain my curiosity for retellings and/or alternate endings of long-loved classics today. Anything about Peter Pan’s character and Neverland is something I’m happy to read and experience. Wendy, Darling is unlike any other Peter Pan story I have ever read or heard of. It isn’t a retelling nor is it is a continuation, alternate ending, or prequel to the original, but one that is wedged in the timeline after Wendy returns from Neverland and the popular movie Hook. It reveals some treacherous dark times for Wendy and grim twists and secrets of Neverland never explored before. This story is told alternately between two pov’s, Wendy and her daughter Jane and it begins with adult Wendy witnessing her daughter Jane being taken by Peter from her bed one night while she watches everything unfold helplessly and unable to follow Peter and Jane into the night sky. From here, it proceeds to split up the experiences of the characters and adding another timeline for Wendy about her past and experiences in Neverland. While young Jane meets the lost boys in Neverland, she experiences the same and strange amnesia as all the lost boys unable to remember her name. Peter introduces her as the new mother and she is expected to pick up the pieces that mothers always have done such as cooking for the boys, telling them stories, and mending their wounds and little hearts from make-belief combat. Jane has an idea that something isn’t right but can’t put her finger on what exactly it is. She takes initiative to walk beyond the places on the island no lost boy is supposed to venture and discovers some terribly dark things she cannot explain or understand. In the meantime, Wendy’s pov talks about her time after her return from Neverland and how all the adults never believed any of her stories and ridiculed her delusional. She is forced to move into a sanatorium for the insane in which she spends a few, horrible years. “Tears roll silently down Wendy’s cheeks as the razor scrapes across her scalp. Shame fills her; it’s a vain thing to cry over.“ Instances like these are told over the greater part of the novel and it makes for a rather tragically sad story versus one of adventure and happiness. Wendy’s feelings and memories are explored vastly into dark depths, from cruel methods at the sanatorium to friendships, her relationship to her brothers, losing her parents and then finding herself afterwards in an arranged marriage. “Loving something means having something to lose. It’s the truth Wendy has known since she lost Neverland since Michael went to war and came home with ghosts in his eyes since their parents boarded a ship doomed to sink.” When Wendy’s and Jane’s storyline finally close in on Neverland, the focus shifts to the mysteries now found on the island. As mother and daughter find their way towards each other, Wendy slowly realizes all the things that are wrong with Neverland and together with Tiger Lily, heads into the darkness to save Jane from the evil within. “Nothing can die in Neverland. Peter told her so. But here is the skull, incontrovertible, her own truth against Peter’s, and she’s done taking other people's word for how the world functions. “ “Ghosts. The word comes unbidden. Neverland was never haunted before, but there was never death here either.“ This certainly made for the most interesting part of the novel. I had not thought in such dark terms towards Neverland and its inhabitants, but it is a great idea explored and utilized by the author in this novel. Upon talking this over with someone who has not read Wendy, Darling yet but is an equal fan of Peter Pan, brainstorming ensued, and either I gave a fantastic recap, or, the more likely and accurate scenario is, that these new story elements were invented with careful intent and wedged into all the existing parts we know from previous Peter Pan versions/stories today. Though I feel the novel suffered under so much tragedy of Wendy’s timeline and a lack of happy adventures, the character explorations and family circumstances around her are worthwhile to learn about. With some new revelations towards the novel’s end about Peter and the island, I am thinking of rewatching the movies Peter Pan and Hook to mesh up my newly gained knowledge from C. S. Wise’s Wendy, Darling to foreshadow in parts these new ideas if possible. If this has left you curious, check out this island story with a new, darker take. Happy Reading! I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you. More of my reviews here: Through Novel Time & Distance The Fantasy Hive

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    I should state up front that I disliked “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie. There were some good ideas within the story, but there was also a huge amount of racism and misogyny, which severely detracted from the story. This book by A.C. Wise goes a long way to addressing things that were wrong with the original, plus also telling the story of a woman who’d lived through A LOT after returning from a magical world. At the book's open, we see Wendy married to a kind husband, Ned. They have a daughter, Jane, I should state up front that I disliked “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie. There were some good ideas within the story, but there was also a huge amount of racism and misogyny, which severely detracted from the story. This book by A.C. Wise goes a long way to addressing things that were wrong with the original, plus also telling the story of a woman who’d lived through A LOT after returning from a magical world. At the book's open, we see Wendy married to a kind husband, Ned. They have a daughter, Jane, and a dear friend, Mary. Then, Peter Pan crashes back into Wendy's life, snatches up Jane and flies off to Neverland. Wendy doesn't sit around and wait for someone else to fix things. Instead, she heads out after the pair to rescue Jane. Wendy and Jane experience a Neverland that is quite different from the one Wendy remembers. There are horrors and destruction, and many examples of Peter's capricious cruelty and mercurial temper. A.C. Wise’s take on "Peter Pan" fills in Wendy’s life post-Neverland, from her childhood onward. It’s not the happy time one would have expected after all the siblings’ adventures. Instead of bonding over their experiences in Neverland, the memories prove to be divisive in the extreme, with Wendy holding onto her memories desperately, and demanding the boys retain the wonder of their time away, while the brothers forgot the longer they were back in London. Add in family and personal trauma, grief, loneliness, and mental health issues. Wise moves back and forth in Wendy’s memories, from moments in Neverland in both her past and present, and how she becomes the person we see at the beginning of the book, including a stint in an asylum. If Neverland isn’t horror enough, early 20th century mental health medical practices (i.e. abuse) add greater pathos to Wendy’s story. The author presents us with a grown Wendy who is a flawed person, insisting on the truth of her experiences. Wise also shows us the horrors of Neverland and the always-young Peter. Together, these elements make this an interesting story. It’s a wiser and more honest woman who returns to London at the end of the book. Wendy’s journey is compelling reading, and left me feeling satisfied with Wise’s portrayal of a person dealing with a profound and disturbing experiences. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for this ARC in exchange for a review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ali Bunke

    In this dark tale of what followed after we left Neverland, Wendy, Darling lifts the curtain of innocence. The story begins years later, Wendy is now a mother herself to a daughter, Jane. In shock, Wendy watches as Peter Pan returns to takes Jane away, mistaking her for Wendy. Not only has Wendy grown up, but she has also survived! While her brothers, John and Michael, forgot Neverland, Wendy never did. Drawing on the strength she has gained in the years following her return she knows that she m In this dark tale of what followed after we left Neverland, Wendy, Darling lifts the curtain of innocence. The story begins years later, Wendy is now a mother herself to a daughter, Jane. In shock, Wendy watches as Peter Pan returns to takes Jane away, mistaking her for Wendy. Not only has Wendy grown up, but she has also survived! While her brothers, John and Michael, forgot Neverland, Wendy never did. Drawing on the strength she has gained in the years following her return she knows that she must return to Neverland to bring her daughter home. Once I understood that this was a darker story of Peter and Neverland, I was completely engrossed. I especially enjoyed how the women in the story were empowered. Thank you, NetGalley for the eArc

  10. 4 out of 5

    Estíbaliz Montero Iniesta

    3’5⭐YOUTUBE / INSTAGRAM Thank you very much to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book (all opinions are my own). Here we have a lush, dark and sometimes scary Peter Pan retelling. Because Neverland might not be exactly as Wendy remembers, and what happens when her old childhood adventure threatens her current adult life, her daughter? I love seeing a retelling in which Wendy is an adult, because Peter Pan is ultimately a story about childhood, so what happens when you add an 3’5⭐YOUTUBE / INSTAGRAM Thank you very much to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book (all opinions are my own). Here we have a lush, dark and sometimes scary Peter Pan retelling. Because Neverland might not be exactly as Wendy remembers, and what happens when her old childhood adventure threatens her current adult life, her daughter? I love seeing a retelling in which Wendy is an adult, because Peter Pan is ultimately a story about childhood, so what happens when you add an adult to the mixture? Here we have two perspectives: Jane’s (Wendy’s daughter), who is kidnapped by Peter and brought to Neverland against her will, and Wendy’s, that has to face her past in order to rescue her daughter. Also, Wendy’s perspective is divided between the present (1931) and the past (1917), when she was in an asylum after coming back from Neverland. Her brothers forgot about Neverland, dismissing it as make-believe stories, but she clung to her childhood adventure even when she was “too old” for it. I must admit the asylum bits were very interesting parts. They were not easy, because she endured some harsh and dehumanizing treatments. But the relationship she forges with Mary, another intern, is really enriching. Neverland, on the other hand, was interesting but in a different way. Once again (because it happens in many retellings), Peter is portrayed as almost a villain, cruel, selfish and manipulative. And it shows in the way he treats Neverland and in the way he treats the Lost Boys. Some passages even reminded me of Lord of the flies, I think that’ll give you an idea of how things are there. I also enjoyed the fact that this retelling introduces an aromantic character, and some issues about misogyny and racism. It also didn’t go the way I expected with Wendy’s husband, which was a nice surprise and a change for once. I found Peter's “backstory” interesting, but I would have needed more details. And the same with the ending (where that backstory came into play): it felt way too rushed. More explanations were needed in order for everything to make perfect sense. I liked this book, it is beautifully written. It doesn’t reach my top favorite Peter Pan retellings just because I’m not that big of a fan of darker stories, but it’s a very interesting approach to this beloved story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nerdy Werewolf

    I wanted very badly to be swept away by this story, but I made it about 40% and decided to set it aside for the moment. I'm sure my expectations have something to do with this; I was hoping for something new. As it is, I've read Brom's The Child Thief and it kind of nailed the maybe-evil Peter Pan thing. SO! This story read a lot like women's fiction in that we get lots of thoughts and feelings, but somehow, they didn't make me care more about what happened to these people? Once I realized that, I I wanted very badly to be swept away by this story, but I made it about 40% and decided to set it aside for the moment. I'm sure my expectations have something to do with this; I was hoping for something new. As it is, I've read Brom's The Child Thief and it kind of nailed the maybe-evil Peter Pan thing. SO! This story read a lot like women's fiction in that we get lots of thoughts and feelings, but somehow, they didn't make me care more about what happened to these people? Once I realized that, I had to put it down. Maybe others will have better luck than me!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leanne Mullaney

    Any thing to do with Peter Pan and I am there, so obviously when I saw Titan advertising this one as available for 'wish' on NetGalley I had to request it!!I am sooooo grateful my wish was granted .... Thank you so much!! I actually went into this one completely blind and had no clue what to expect ... I just saw it was a Peter Pan kinda story and that was that - Although I found myself surprised ... not sure why as like I say, I had no clue what it was exactly about ... I absolutely loved it an Any thing to do with Peter Pan and I am there, so obviously when I saw Titan advertising this one as available for 'wish' on NetGalley I had to request it!!I am sooooo grateful my wish was granted .... Thank you so much!! I actually went into this one completely blind and had no clue what to expect ... I just saw it was a Peter Pan kinda story and that was that - Although I found myself surprised ... not sure why as like I say, I had no clue what it was exactly about ... I absolutely loved it and could not stop reading! Wendy, Darling is a beautiful and dark reimagining of Peter Pan, Neverland, what actually happened when Peter took Wendy to Neverland and the aftermath of it all. This was not the happy fairytale I love .... but yet, I still absolutely loved it!! .... A dark retelling that I never knew I needed in my life! I don't want to say to much really but if you are a fan of Peter Pan and find you are looking for a version that is a little more ‘sinister’ ... where Peter Pan isn't the nice guy and Neverland is more of a nightmare than a dream .... and also puts a feminist angle on the story... then look no further, This is it!! A highly recommended read. Thanks again to Titan and NetGalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    megan ✨

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. DNF at 55% I requested this on Netgalley on a whim, because I thought the premise seemed intriguing and a dark Peter Pan retelling sounded like something I would love. I was really, really wrong. Maybe I could have pushed through and finished this, but I know I wouldn’t have liked it, and at the point I stopped at, I was just skimming pages and hoping I would get to a part that actually captured my interest. This bo Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. DNF at 55% I requested this on Netgalley on a whim, because I thought the premise seemed intriguing and a dark Peter Pan retelling sounded like something I would love. I was really, really wrong. Maybe I could have pushed through and finished this, but I know I wouldn’t have liked it, and at the point I stopped at, I was just skimming pages and hoping I would get to a part that actually captured my interest. This book isn’t inherently bad. It’s just not something I was enjoying or one I think I would have enjoyed had I finished it. I don’t want to go too much into detail about why exactly I didn’t like it because I didn’t even finish it, but also because the book just came out a couple days ago. Maybe I’ll pick it up again some other time, but probably not.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Crunden

    She cannot, and will not, deny Neverland. This is my first Peter Pan sequel (in book form, I've seen Hook, etc)! I've been looking forward to Darling, but I haven't read it yet, so Wendy, Darling is my first post-Pan read. I have seen a lot of cinematic retellings, though. Namely Disney's Peter Pan (1953), the adorable live action Peter Pan (2003), and Once Upon a Time (2011). [I'm *sure* there's a retelling I'm forgetting.] So like, whilst I was expecting Peter to be along the lines of this: She cannot, and will not, deny Neverland. This is my first Peter Pan sequel (in book form, I've seen Hook, etc)! I've been looking forward to Darling, but I haven't read it yet, so Wendy, Darling is my first post-Pan read. I have seen a lot of cinematic retellings, though. Namely Disney's Peter Pan (1953), the adorable live action Peter Pan (2003), and Once Upon a Time (2011). [I'm *sure* there's a retelling I'm forgetting.] So like, whilst I was expecting Peter to be along the lines of this: This version of Peter be more like this: So by like page 5, I'm already like this: Wendy, Darling opens up on a much different note than where Peter Pan ended. In Wendy, Darling, it's been years since Wendy and Peter parted ways, and now Wendy has her own adult life. One filled with memories of Neverland, and what happened to Wendy after. **MILD SPOILERS** She survived being put away for her delusions, survived the injections, calmatives, and water cures meant to save her from herself. She fought, never stopped fighting; she refused to let Neverland go. Wendy's complicated feelings about Neverland and Peter are so heart-shattering, and her descriptions of life after-Peter are so sad. You can really feel Wendy and I just want to give her a hug and make her a cup of tea. She’d taken the proffered shadow, silky and cool in her hands like the finest of fabrics, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Of course a boy might become separated from his shadow, and of course a girl might sew it back on again. But right from the start, you get the sense that in this retelling of Peter Pan, there's something that doesn't make sense about the Boy Who Doesn't Grow Up. Nothing here is what it seems. Peter may look like a regular boy, but in truth, he’s a dangerous thing. He may not be human at all. The opening scene is Peter quite literally scolding Wendy for growing up and then absconding with Jane, whom he starts calling Wendy. (THIS MAKES MY PETER/WENDY LOVING HEART SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD AND ALSO LIKE WHAT THE F.) Final RTC. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC. ☆ Blog | Twitter ☆

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donna McEachran

    Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book for an honest review. Having loved Peter Pan, I was captivated by this book. The story of what happened to the Darling children, particularly Wendy, following their visit to Neverland. It is dark, tortured and imaginative!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lexi

    Quick Look: 🆗 Peter Pan Adaptation 🆗 Feminist themes 🆗Mental Illness rep 👍 Dark/horror elements 🆗 Spooky twists 👍 Poly/queer ace rep Wendy Darling is yet another dark adult Peter Pan retelling that centers around a Wendy who has spent years in an asylum and now is coping with her regular life. She is married with a daughter, and still longs for Neverland. One day Peter comes back to her, only to take her daughter Jane. The plot follows both Wendy and Jane as Wendy tries to save her daughter. I'm startin Quick Look: 🆗 Peter Pan Adaptation 🆗 Feminist themes 🆗Mental Illness rep 👍 Dark/horror elements 🆗 Spooky twists 👍 Poly/queer ace rep Wendy Darling is yet another dark adult Peter Pan retelling that centers around a Wendy who has spent years in an asylum and now is coping with her regular life. She is married with a daughter, and still longs for Neverland. One day Peter comes back to her, only to take her daughter Jane. The plot follows both Wendy and Jane as Wendy tries to save her daughter. I'm starting to think the perfect Peter Pan adaptation is in my head. A ton have come out recently and all of them seem to follow this same premise: Wendy is crazy or was perceived to be. Wendy misses Neverland. Wendy is traumatized and nobody believes her. It's a bit weird to "Alice" Wendy- a character defined by her pragmatism and logical behavior. It was Wendy who wanted to go home. It was Wendy who was comfortable with growing up. A lot of these adaptations really go an interesting direction with her character- one that doesn't always work. On the positive side, her relationship with her daughter Jane was pretty cool, as well as the poly ace romance within the book. The family dynamics were handled very well. The book also goes the "Dark Pan" route which is easily my favorite way to adapt the story. Wendy Darling has some significant similarities to Never Never by Brianna Shrum and Lost Boy by Christina Henry. Both books handle a dark version of the Pan story significantly better, so I strongly recommend those if you try this one and are looking for more. That being said, there were some really cool horror elements to the story I did have fun with. The scary Peter Pan moments were genuinely stressful to read. Jane's chapters had a really strong element of tension to them and were easily the strongest. Wendy's chapters, especially her asylum flashbacks, were a super mixed bag. They were often repetitive and could be boring at times. The book attempts to establish Wendy's life outside of Neverland, introducing original characters that are supposed to be meaningful to her. For me, I found these moments much less interesting until later on. Wendy's relationship with Tiger Lilly and Peter were two of the cooler parts of her plotline, and a good amount of time was also spent on that, which I loved. I think my biggest issue with Wendy Darling is that if you are going to try something that has been done before, you really need to nail it. There were enough slow and unengaging parts of this book that couldn't make up for the hi-lights, but when I was having a good time, I was having a VERY good time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    The Bookish Life of Laura

    Thank you so much to Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book! DNF at 30% Wendy, Darling follows Wendy as our main character after she has left Neverland and grown up in the very harsh realities of our world. Wendy still believes in the magic of Neverland, even after being committed to a mental institution, growing up, and having a daughter of her own. She believes Neverland is behind her, until one night Peter Pan, still the same child he was all those years ago, comes into her home Thank you so much to Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book! DNF at 30% Wendy, Darling follows Wendy as our main character after she has left Neverland and grown up in the very harsh realities of our world. Wendy still believes in the magic of Neverland, even after being committed to a mental institution, growing up, and having a daughter of her own. She believes Neverland is behind her, until one night Peter Pan, still the same child he was all those years ago, comes into her home and takes her child from her. Since no one else would ever believe what really happened, it is up to Wendy to take to the sky once more to save her child, and discovers the sinister secrets that Neverland holds. Unfortunately Wendy, Darling was a DNF for me. I got about 30% of the way through but could not get through more. I didn't find the plot to be compelling, the characters all felt very one-note to me, and the way it was written was difficult for me to follow and had a kind of non-sensical whimsy to it. I found that there was a lot of rambling on about things that were not important, which made it frustrating to try and piece together what the actual plot was in the midst of all the nonsense of Neverland. I do think that kind of whimsy does well with a story that takes in Neverland, so I don't think it was necessarily a bad thing, it just was not for me. But for those who love the world of Peter Pan and all the chaos that comes with it, then I can absolutely see this being a fantastic read for them!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    First things first; this book deals PTSD, Abuse and Mental Illnesses. Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review What a ride! Wendy Darling is now grown up and married with a young daughter, Jane. We quickly learn that life after Neverland was not as straight forward for Wendy as it was for her younger brothers who quickly forgot about their adventures. As Jane is taken by Peter who has come to find 'his Wendy', the real Wendy knows she is the only one wh First things first; this book deals PTSD, Abuse and Mental Illnesses. Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review What a ride! Wendy Darling is now grown up and married with a young daughter, Jane. We quickly learn that life after Neverland was not as straight forward for Wendy as it was for her younger brothers who quickly forgot about their adventures. As Jane is taken by Peter who has come to find 'his Wendy', the real Wendy knows she is the only one who can retrieve her daughter. She must reconcile with her past and return to a world she has been trying to deny for years. Neverland is not as it once was. But, Wendy is not as she was, either. The story is told from Wendy and Jane's perspectives. The former's chapters take place in the present day and a few years prior as Wendy recounts the toll that Neverland took on her and her relationships. There's something truly raw in the writing and it was interesting to see this take on Peter Pan; it's a well balanced dark retelling. At first, I honestly thought I was going to be reading something very similar to 'Hook' and... well, boy, was I wrong! The book is fast paced and action packed. I also enjoyed the way A.C. Wise ties in historical events to bring a level of authenticity; the war is mentioned throughout and the impacts of that on the men who come home; I couldn't help but feel there was a comparison here between that and Wendy's return from Neverland - brilliantly done. At it's core this is a story of survival. Wendy is a survivor, not just of the abuse and trauma she has experienced both in Neverland and at home, but of a war being waged within herself. Wendy does not truly know herself and her mission to rescue Jane is also a mission to save herself. For me this is a 4 star read. I really wanted to give it the full 5, but I found the ending a little rushed. There was a lot of build up and then only a couple pages of resolution. I felt there was more to be resolved and we could have done with more of an insight in to the immediate aftermath.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Wendy, Darling takes us to a Neverland that has become coated in dread and unveils the darkness at the heart of Peter Pan. It's the horror-tinged feminist Peter Pan retelling I never knew I needed. A.C. Wise has taken a story where the women have remained in the background and brought them to the forefront, weaving the perspectives of Wendy, her daughter, and Tiger Lily in a brilliant re-imagining of a classic boy's club story. Wendy, Darling takes us to a Neverland that has become coated in dread and unveils the darkness at the heart of Peter Pan. It's the horror-tinged feminist Peter Pan retelling I never knew I needed. A.C. Wise has taken a story where the women have remained in the background and brought them to the forefront, weaving the perspectives of Wendy, her daughter, and Tiger Lily in a brilliant re-imagining of a classic boy's club story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    This is probably the best Peter Pan book I’ve read yet! It’s a very dark version of the classic story we all know and love, but it was so wonderfully reimagined. I loved it! Synopsis: Wendy, Darling takes us on a journey through the past and present life of Wendy Darling. We discover through her the real life psychological aftermath and consequences of having a magical experience like Neverland as a child. Decades after Neverland, Peter Pan arrives for Wendy again only to find her now a re This is probably the best Peter Pan book I’ve read yet! It’s a very dark version of the classic story we all know and love, but it was so wonderfully reimagined. I loved it! Synopsis: Wendy, Darling takes us on a journey through the past and present life of Wendy Darling. We discover through her the real life psychological aftermath and consequences of having a magical experience like Neverland as a child. Decades after Neverland, Peter Pan arrives for Wendy again only to find her now a real mother to her daughter, Jane. Instead of taking a now “old” Wendy, he steals Jane away to Neverland to be his Wendy. So ensues the race for Wendy to get her daughter back, but the truth of Neverland and her old friend Peter Pan is not quite as Wendy remembers. The island has dark secrets and Wendy may be the only one who can put it all right. Wendy Darling, my favorite Darling: The life of Wendy Darling was both fantastic and tragic to read. Life is not easy for the Darling siblings post-Neverland and reading Wendy’s journey as she attempts to reconcile this world with the one she was shown by Peter was it’s own magical experience. They are many trials and hardships for her to overcome, but she comes away from them all stronger and fiercer than ever before. I loved this iteration of Wendy Darling with my whole heart. Story and Pacing: Beyond my love for Wendy Darling, this darker take on this version of the tale was amazing. Peter has been hiding a big, dangerous secret and I needed to know what it was. The story throughout interested and intrigued me. Whether I was reading about Wendy’s past or her present, I was never really bored and the pacing of the story was done well. Wrap Up: Wendy, Darling was magical in it’s own twisted kind of way. This is not just a story of a mischievous boy and his magical island. Maybe it never was. A big thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for an e-arc of Wendy, Darling in exchange for an honest review!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kahlia

    I have a lot of complicated thoughts about this book, and they all boil down to: I think this is a fascinating story, but a really poor reimagining of Peter Pan. Wendy, Darling is not really a retelling, but an additional story, set somewhere between the events of the original Peter Pan and Hook, the Robin Williams movie about a version of Peter Pan that really does grow up (you don’t need to have seen the latter to read this book). Broadly, in Wise’s version, Wendy grew up, got married and had a I have a lot of complicated thoughts about this book, and they all boil down to: I think this is a fascinating story, but a really poor reimagining of Peter Pan. Wendy, Darling is not really a retelling, but an additional story, set somewhere between the events of the original Peter Pan and Hook, the Robin Williams movie about a version of Peter Pan that really does grow up (you don’t need to have seen the latter to read this book). Broadly, in Wise’s version, Wendy grew up, got married and had a child, and is forced to revisit Neverland in order to save her daughter from Pan’s clutches. However, it tells a much darker story than the original J.M. Barrie story, about what it actually means for someone to refuse to be an adult – and therefore take responsibility for the consequences of their actions – and how terrifying it is that Neverland is built on the backs of children effectively stolen away from their parents. It also takes a huge swing at the racism and misogyny inherent in earlier iterations of the books, including the idea that Wendy, as a woman, must mother the Lost Boys, as well as the caricicatures of Native Americans. Give us more retellings that poke at racist but otherwise beloved stories, please and thanks. The story is split between three perspectives: Wendy in the present, in search of her daughter; Wendy in the past, as we learn that she was institutionalised by her brothers after returning from Neverland, for her inability to let the story go; and Jane, Wendy’s daughter, after she is kidnapped by Pan and forced to fight her way out of the strange new world she finds herself in. The middle story is compelling; there is a real gothic element to it as Wendy finds herself trapped and alone, with no way of processing her memories, trying desparately to convince others she’s not crazy even as she starts to wonder if Neverland was the utopia she thought it was while there. There’s also a lot of interesting themes here around processing of trauma (and remembering versus forgetting as different but equally legitmate ways of doing so), and the limited options for women in post-War England, where Wendy’s only option for redemption is seemingly to be coerced into a marriage she’s not sure she wants. (Without spoilers, there is ace/aro rep in this book which made my ace heart very happy, even if it somewhat fell towards the wayside towards the end). The other two perspectives are less compelling, mostly because Jane feels indistinguishable from pretty much every child protagonist ever, but it feels like the author wanted people to engage the most with Wendy in the past, so I didn’t mind this too much. The story as a whole is also a bit too much at points: Wendy gets abused, institutionalised, forced into marriage and then has her daughter kidnapped, and there were occasions where I was begging for a moment or two of lighthearted brevity. For those into dark retellings, this may be less of a problem – it’s certaintly a personal preference on my account. But the reason Wendy, Darling didn’t always work for me is that the book expects you to be fully engaged with the original Peter Pan story while also skewering it. Peter is a barely a character in Wendy’s story; we mostly see him through flashbacks as she processes his real motivations and the consequences of his actions, and he feels shadowy, half-formed at best. Scenes from the original Peter Pan are often referenced obliquely. That wouldn’t be a big deal, except that it left the reader filling in the gaps from the original stories, which meant trying to reconcile the fun character of my childhood with the ominous spectre that this Peter, and it felt incongruous. Though, I should note that Peter does play a more active role in Jane’s story, and he’s legitimately terrifying in his subtle manipulation of the Lost Boys, even if he didn’t quite feel like a version of Peter I recognised (and maybe that’s the point and I should let go of my childhood nostalgia too). Similarly, the attempts to point out the racism in the original aren’t as strong as they could be, because we don’t get to relive the original scenes with Hook and the Indian tribes, meaning I couldn’t remember exactly how bad things were in the films, and therefore really grapple with the changes Wise made. I am really interested to see what Wise writes next; Wendy, Darling was an evocative story and I’d love to see what they could do with some original gothic or dark fantasy ideas, but I wasn’t sold on it as a retelling of Peter Pan. Note: I received an ARC from Titan Books. Wendy, Darling was released on 1 June 2021. This review is also available @firstbreathsreviews.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    This was a very interesting sequel to the original Peter Pan story. Sadly, it didn't really impress me that much, although I did enjoy it! I had to read Peter and Wendy for a class in Children's Literature last year, and what struck me the most about it was how... insidiously creepy it was. While Peter created all of these games for them to play, Wendy, a literal child, was treated as the mother to all of them, only due to her sex. Then there was the racism too, and the way that Peter Pan just ha This was a very interesting sequel to the original Peter Pan story. Sadly, it didn't really impress me that much, although I did enjoy it! I had to read Peter and Wendy for a class in Children's Literature last year, and what struck me the most about it was how... insidiously creepy it was. While Peter created all of these games for them to play, Wendy, a literal child, was treated as the mother to all of them, only due to her sex. Then there was the racism too, and the way that Peter Pan just had seemingly full control of everything on the island! Wendy, Darling deals with all of these issues that were present in the original. We see Wendy as an adult, having both a husband and a daughter. There are also flashbacks to just a few years after she returned from Neverland, which she spent in an asylum. The book does take a dark turn in many ways. Her experiences at the asylum are gruesome, and the way that Neverland appears here is a far cry from how it looks like in Barrie's version. I did like the feminist angling of the story - and the title of the novel is super clever! I also really loved reading about Wendy's relationships. While she is a far cry from a perfect person, she is complex and so are her relationships with her family. I also enjoyed the queer quality of her whole family unit, and it was nice to just see it existing so naturally. What I really did not enjoy though, was the way the novel is written. Someplaces, the prose is absolutely gorgeous - but then it is really overwritten in places. Whole paragraphs could have been condensed into a few lines. I was also really disinterested in the whole Neverland sections of the novel, and the twist with Peter was kind of meh. Still, I'd really recommend this to fans of Peter Pan, and those that love feminist retellings of childhood tales! Thank you for NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange of a honest review!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Thank you to Penguin Canada for my copy in exchange for my honest review. I hadn’t seen this anywhere on #bookstagram and it’s normally not my thing but I’m glad I read it! This book is DARK and twisted, but a beautiful re-imagination/telling of what happens to Wendy when she returns from Neverland and grows up (Peter’s worst nightmare). “Life is unfair, that’s what happens when you grow up.” A.C. Wise does a wonderful job at painting a picture of the true darkness that is Neverland, with prose tha Thank you to Penguin Canada for my copy in exchange for my honest review. I hadn’t seen this anywhere on #bookstagram and it’s normally not my thing but I’m glad I read it! This book is DARK and twisted, but a beautiful re-imagination/telling of what happens to Wendy when she returns from Neverland and grows up (Peter’s worst nightmare). “Life is unfair, that’s what happens when you grow up.” A.C. Wise does a wonderful job at painting a picture of the true darkness that is Neverland, with prose that leaves you feeling uncomfortable but simultaneously leaves you wanting to know more—this book provides commentary on so many underlying themes. Overall this book wasn’t my normal read, but I’m glad I got out of my comfort zone to read this story. Note: I re-watched Peter Pan before reading this and wow, even though the movie is from the 1950s, the movie was more racist than I remembered. I’m glad Disney added a disclaimer at the beginning to comment on the inaccurate depictions of Indigenous peoples portrayed in the movie. A.C. Wise provides some brief commentary of this throughout the book as well re: Tiger Lily. We have to continue to recognize and educate ourselves on the mistakes and the atrocities Indigenous peoples faced and continue to face. Content warnings: kidnapping, mental health asylum, violence and murder

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julia Onieva

    Okay I just finished this book and I’m crying. Such a beautiful and dark story! Full review to come soon.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maritina Mela

    3.75/5 After Wendy and her brothers returned from Neverland, things haven't been going well for her. Her brothers have forgotten all of their adventures and her being the only one who can remember makes everyone fear for her mental state. As a teen, her parents are among the victims of the Titanic and a few years later, her brother Michael enlists in the army, to fight in World War I, which lefts him a broken man, struggling with his demons. The only thing that makes her feel better is the memory 3.75/5 After Wendy and her brothers returned from Neverland, things haven't been going well for her. Her brothers have forgotten all of their adventures and her being the only one who can remember makes everyone fear for her mental state. As a teen, her parents are among the victims of the Titanic and a few years later, her brother Michael enlists in the army, to fight in World War I, which lefts him a broken man, struggling with his demons. The only thing that makes her feel better is the memory of Wonderland and the hope that one day she will be able to go back. She even tries to make her brothers remember that time of their lives, something that causes multiple fights and ultimately leads John to lock her away in an insane asylum. Inside the asylum, she is treated horribly by the doctors and the staff and her only solace is another patient, a woman called Mary, who looks exactly like Wendy's old friend, Tiger Lily. As a result of the mistreatment there, Wendy clings to her memories as a way to survive, only to realize that it is because of Wonderland that she is locked here and Peter isn't coming back. Jumping ahead a few years later, Wendy is now married to a man named Ned. She also has a daughter named Jane and has managed to free her friend Mary from the asylum as well. She is relatively happy and loves her new family very much, but she still can't help but feel like her relationship with her brothers isn't fully fixed. She has left Neverland in her past, although she still worries that one day Ned and his family will find out the reason why she was locked away. Neverland comes back in her life though in a way she never expected. One night, while she enters her daughter's room, she finds that someone has broken in and is about to take Jane away. And that someone is no one else by Peter Pan himself. After Jane's abduction, Wendy is determined to save her daughter and bring her back home. And not only that, but this time, she is going to defeat Peter once and for all. My thoughts. I am not going to lie, this was a very dificult book for me to get through. Not because it is awfully written or because I am incredibly attached to the source material and any change upon it irks me. It was hard for me to get through because there is alway too much going on. That and the fact that the e-book form was literally an endless wall of text. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, this book tackles various different topics, such as feelings of abandonment, abuse by medical staff, the descrimination against people of color, PTSD, death and marrying someone of the opposite sex despite not being attracted to said sex. And while it doesn't do a bad job at representing these, I still kind of feel like if some of these things were not part of the story, there would be time left for the rest of them to be explored properly. The prose and the characters were nicely written and in a way that made you sympathize with them. I am going to admit though, that I prefered seeing Jane's point of view of Neverland. Because she doesn't even want to be there, so she doesn't see the place as paradise itself and it is through her that we learn about Peter committing atrocities. Seeing her mother returning to Neverland and finding it a shadow of its former self, was also something intriguing, especially when we meet Tiger Lily, but it poses this question: Why did Wendy fall in love with that place? Why did she even like Peter? We know that she has now fallen out of love with it because she blames it for her being locked in the asylum, but the other questions remain unanswered. Also, since I just mentioned it, I liked how in this retelling we actually see Peter being a little piece of shit. I am not gonna mention any names, but around this time last year, I was reading another Peter Pan retelling where Peter was supposed to be the villain. Only in that book, he barely did anything before the main character decided to go up against him (and after that, he contributed to the main character losing his hand and eventually dying.) Here, we see what happens to the boys who dare question his authority. At first, everything is just suggested but the truth is finally revealed to Jane by one of the Lost Boys. Peter is even given an origin story, as told by Tiger Lily to Wendy. (view spoiler)[He is some kind of an ancient being who tore himself in two and locked his shadow in a deep cave, while his other half is the boy we all know. The shadow Wendy sewed on him back in the day, wasn't even his. It was the shadow of a boy he had killed and the only way to defeat him is to sew his true shadow back on him. (hide spoiler)] My feelings in regards to that story are a bit lukewarm, and to be honest, that was the point in the book where I was getting strong It vibes. But what came as a twist to me, was what happened after he was defeated. That part was indeed heartbreaking. While I enjoyed most of the stuff in this book, besides the fact that there were way too many things going on and the backstory of Peter, I also had some complains and most of them have to do with the events of the story and the contradictions that some of them cause. For example, we are shown that after Wendy returned from Neverland, she would try to fly, something that ended with her hurting herself. Same thing happens later on in the book where she tries to fly away from the asylum. So we know for a fact that Wendy cannot fly without Peter Pan and Tinkerbell's assistance. Then how did she manage to fly and get herself to Neverland when she realized that Jane was taken? Also, upon arrival to Neverland and seeing the skeletons of the mermaids, Wendy said that 'nothing ever dies in Neverland' which comes to direct contrast with the original, in which Hook was killed and in the end of the book it is also mentioned that Tinkerbell has passed away, even though Peter is too self-absorbed to notice. Finally, there seems to be some confusion on Mary's race. Wendy admits that she is the spitting image of Tiger Lily who is Indian (Native American) and then goes on to ask her is she is Indian (from India). Unless I have some of the facts mixed up, this exchange doesn't make any sense and in fact, makes the author seem a bit ignorant if you ask me. Plus, I still want to know, what the author meant when she said that "Wendy would try for years to make her brothers remember Neverland" something that would lead to big fights between her, Michael and John and why having the main heroine pressuring her younger brother, who clearly suffers from PTSD after fighting in the war, into remembering that place, seemed like a good idea, because to me it was a low moment for Wendy. Generally speaking, this was an enjoyable read, but not without its flaws. The family dynamics are decent and the villain is effective and creepy. I'd like to read more from the author someday. If you made it this far, congratulations! 'Til next time, take care :) :) :) I received a free e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    4 stars. The first 3/4 or so was an easy 4.5 stars. While I did leave the book feeling a little disappointed, I had a hard time putting this one down and would recommend to anyone even slightly curious in a unique addition to the Peter Pan universe. One of the things I love about the original Peter Pan novel is that when I revisited it as an adult, it was like reading a completely different novel than the one I read in my youth. The themes I took from the story were not the same and the entire bo 4 stars. The first 3/4 or so was an easy 4.5 stars. While I did leave the book feeling a little disappointed, I had a hard time putting this one down and would recommend to anyone even slightly curious in a unique addition to the Peter Pan universe. One of the things I love about the original Peter Pan novel is that when I revisited it as an adult, it was like reading a completely different novel than the one I read in my youth. The themes I took from the story were not the same and the entire book was much darker than I had remembered it. Wendy, Darling capitalizes on this darkness and offers a feminist perspective that was breathtaking and unforgettable. What if, when J.M. Barrie's original work ends, there is no actual happily ever after? Because, you know, in the real world there really isn't such a thing. What if, shortly after the Darling children return from Neverland, their parents unexpectedly pass away and Wendy takes on even more of the motherly duties that she already had thrust upon her in Barrie's novel? What if the Darling children grow up and because of this trauma and their younger ages, John and Michael have difficulty separating fact from fiction as to what happened in childhood games and what ACTUALLY happened? What if Michael enlists in WWI and comes back a broken man, and to cheer him Wendy reminds him about Neverland, and John is furious with his sister for confusing Michael further by insisting that imaginary childhood stories actually happened? What if this leads to Wendy being committed and spending years in a mental institution? What if Wendy escapes this by marrying a man she doesn't know, has a daughter of her own, and then one day Peter returns to bring Wendy back to Neverland but is angry she grew up and takes her daughter instead? What if Wendy can't tell anyone the truth of where her daughter has gone because she is sure to be thrown back in the mental institution if she does, and so she single-handedly needs to find a way back to Neverland to rescue her daughter? So freaking good. I was disappointed in the lack of Tinkerbell and the insinuation that we might see Hook but never did. I loved the imagery of adult Wendy running around with Hook's sword SO MUCH. I loved the return of Tiger Lily. This book had so much reference to otherness, the treatment of women in the Victorian age, imperialism, racism, and even some homophobia. At the end though, I was left with questions - where are the fairies? What happened to the pirates? Where did Peter get his magic from exactly? With these questions being answered, I think this would have been a 5 star read. Still well worth it and recommended to my friends so that we can discuss/create our own ending for these missing characters. Thank you Titan Books and Edelweiss for the ARC!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gen

    It is hard to know what to say about this. I was hoping it would go FULL uncanny valley, because it's supposed to be a "dark, horror-tinged" retelling, and the original Peter Pan book is certainly vaguely horror-tinged enough to provide fertile ground. It sort of did... and sort of didn't. There is certainly some creepy darkness at the center of this book, and a lot of it should have been very interesting to me. For instance (view spoiler)[the true secret being Peter's shadow, which he had torn aw It is hard to know what to say about this. I was hoping it would go FULL uncanny valley, because it's supposed to be a "dark, horror-tinged" retelling, and the original Peter Pan book is certainly vaguely horror-tinged enough to provide fertile ground. It sort of did... and sort of didn't. There is certainly some creepy darkness at the center of this book, and a lot of it should have been very interesting to me. For instance (view spoiler)[the true secret being Peter's shadow, which he had torn away from himself and forgotten about (hide spoiler)] is honestly a GREAT detail. It should have been a GREAT twist, especially with the way it means Wendy can eventually defeat him. Also, there's a lot more. (view spoiler)[The whole asylum thing, the way it's confirmed that Peter does do away with troublesome or too-old lost boys, like the original book hinted. The way the whole island rises and falls on his thoughtless whims. His flighty, forgetful nature imposing itself on everyone else to their own horror. (hide spoiler)] There's SO MUCH here. So many good bones, that I should have loved to see explored. Key words: should have. It's so odd, and I can't pinpoint exactly what about this didn't work for me. Something about the writing style was definitely over the top. This is also supposed to be a "lush, feminist" retelling, and it absolutely did succeed on that score. TOO lush. Too self-importantly deep and dramatic and "she tried, oh, how she tried," if you know what I mean. It's working WAY too hard, and not actually going anywhere. There were so many chapters in the middle, of Wendy's POV and Jane's POV alternating on Neverland in which... nothing happened. They both just thought a bunch of sad, important thoughts and then traded POVs again. I didn't care, really, about Jane or Wendy. I would have loved to be invested in the creepiness and mystery, except that the book essentially told everyone straight up: Peter is evil and here's where we're going to find the answer to why. And then just kept saying it over and over without explanation up until the climax, and at that point there's no suspense left to be had. I'm just a little irritated at the delay. If there was no real mystery left, I would have liked to discover the backstory. What's the deal with Peter? Why is his secret like that? What is he, and how? And why? I feel like for such an inherently complex character, his resolution was completely just a throwaway piece of action that answered no questions. I really wanted to love this book, and there is so much here that is or should be fascinating. For some reason it just felt like there was an overload of certain content (Wendy's repetitive, deep dark emotions) and not enough of others (plot buildup, creepy suspense, worldbuilding).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beatrice

    I was personally never a fan of Peter Pan. I always found him to be too fickle, spoilt, controlling and sometimes downright abusive to romanticise him or Neverland, so I tend to really enjoy any retelling where Peter Pan is not portrayed as a hero. Wendy, Darling fit right into that category, but at the same time did so much more by giving Wendy a voice and allowing her to tell her story - and this time it is not a bedtime story for children. Wendy, Darling was beautifully structured, alternating I was personally never a fan of Peter Pan. I always found him to be too fickle, spoilt, controlling and sometimes downright abusive to romanticise him or Neverland, so I tend to really enjoy any retelling where Peter Pan is not portrayed as a hero. Wendy, Darling fit right into that category, but at the same time did so much more by giving Wendy a voice and allowing her to tell her story - and this time it is not a bedtime story for children. Wendy, Darling was beautifully structured, alternating between Wendy's first time in Neverland, her experience of life in London after returning from Neverland, and her return to Neverland to rescue her daughter Jane, whom Peter has kidnapped to become a new mother for the Lost Boys. We also get to see things from Jane's POV, as she tries to make sense of what is happening to her and work out how to survive Neverland and return home. I really liked this structure, and I thought it worked very well to really show all that Wendy endured while slowly peeling off layers of Wendy's memories to reach the truth of Neverland, Peter and the darkness lurking within. This book takes some really dark turns, and I think after reading this no one will be able to look at Peter Pan or the Lost Boys in quite the same way again. Together with Wendy, we readers are brought to questioning everything we thought was true. But what is real and what is fantasy? Wendy was a fantastic character. She is a survivor, having experienced suffering and abuse for years following her return from Neverland. Unlike her brothers, Wendy has not forgotten their time in Neverland, but she is disbelieved by everyone until she is finally committed to an asylum where treatments are brutal and dehumanising. The chapters recounting Wendy's time in the asylum were particularly harrowing, especially because of all the bullying and abuse she suffered at the hands of the staff so maybe be cautious in approaching this if that might be triggering for you. Knowing her pain gives so much more weight to Wendy's decision to go back to Neverland as a grown woman to save her daughter and is a testament to her strength. Even though Wendy, as the main character, carried the show, all the characters felt really well developed, including the minor ones. I am all about the characters, and these ones really delivered! From Wendy's brothers to the Lost Boys, and from old Neverland friends to her new family, everyone has something to offer and I was totally here for it! Peter is of course a key character in this, and I really liked the author's take on him. There were times when I got a bit frustrated as things seemed to be moving too slowly, but it somehow didn't feel as though there was an issue with pacing. The slower passages felt very deliberate, and especially in certain sections I could feel the characters' frustration, which I think was the point? The book takes its time, building a picture of all the characters bit by bit until we think we can see the whole of them... but can anyone ever do that? Overall, Wendy, Darling is a wonderfully dark retelling that takes on a life of its own, almost independently from the original story, to explore very real and modern issues around misogyny, mental health, trauma and survivorship, family and many, many more. For this and more reviews, visit Book for Thought. I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

    Series Info/Source: I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. This is a stand alone book. Story (3/5): I thought the beginning of this was very slow but enjoyed the second half of the book more. This book is about Wendy's daughter, Jane, getting taken to Neverland by Peter. This forces Wendy to venture back into Neverland and solve its dark secrets in order to rescue Jane. It was an okay read, not great...but the ending does pick up pace. No ideas here that I haven't seen in other Pe Series Info/Source: I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. This is a stand alone book. Story (3/5): I thought the beginning of this was very slow but enjoyed the second half of the book more. This book is about Wendy's daughter, Jane, getting taken to Neverland by Peter. This forces Wendy to venture back into Neverland and solve its dark secrets in order to rescue Jane. It was an okay read, not great...but the ending does pick up pace. No ideas here that I haven't seen in other Peter Pan retellings though. I also felt like Peter and Neverland were kind of left in limbo, it felt a bit unfinished. The conclusion wasn't very satisfying and it kind of felt like the story just stopped. Characters (3/5): I thought Wendy and Jane were okay characters. Wendy feels a bit distant from the reader, almost like she is in a bit of a daze the whole time. I did enjoy seeing glimpses of Wendy’s history but always felt like I was watching her from a distance. The reader spends more time watching her actions than getting to know her as a character. I really enjoyed Jane as a character but we don’t spend nearly as much time with her as we do with Wendy. I would have liked to read more about Jane. Peter is more of an idea than an actual character with dimension, history and feelings...he feels very unfinished. The lost boys are fairly interchangeable and were mostly just part of the background. Setting (3/5): The setting alternates between London, Neverland and various timelines. Neverland is described to mainly look like the Neverland we all know and love. Again, nothing too earth shattering here. The settings were fine. Writing Style (3/5): The book jumps around between Wendy's childhood, her time in an asylum, and her marriage. There are also chapters from Jane's POV. While the timeframe is printed whenever the timeline changes, the POV of the chapter is not. So, sometimes you have to read through a bit of the chapter to figure out if you are reading from Wendy or Jane's POV. As mentioned above it starts pretty slow but does pick up pace in the 2nd half of the book. The other thing I really struggled with here was how incomplete things feel. We never see what happens with Peter and Neverland in the end. There are also some strange elements, like where some of the lost boys come from, that are never tied in well with the rest of the story. The whole thing feels a bit messy and could have used some better editing. It also feels rushed at the end, like Wise wasn’t quite sure how to tie things up. My Summary (3/5): Overall while I didn’t mind reading this it felt kind of slow and unoriginal to me. There are some interesting ideas here (a darkness in Neverland, where lost boys come from) but they’ve been explored in similar ways in other Peter Pan retellings. The POV you are reading from can be a bit confusing and the story is a bit of a mess and ends abruptly. There were a lot of loose threads at the end and I was left wondering why they were tied into the overall story at all. I am pretty sure this is a stand alone, however if there were to be a sequel then that would explain some of the issues I had with this book. I don’t plan on picking up any more books by Wise.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

    Shoutout to NetGalley for providing this read! Thank you! This book puts a dark twist on the story of Peter Pan that we all know and love. We start the book post Neverland where Wendy is now an adult with a husband and daughter. Her daughter Jane is whipped away to Neverland and it falls on Wendy to get her back. Through flashbacks, we learn that after her return as a child, Wendy has had to struggle through obstacles resulting from her trip to Neverland. This story includes many, many flashbacks Shoutout to NetGalley for providing this read! Thank you! This book puts a dark twist on the story of Peter Pan that we all know and love. We start the book post Neverland where Wendy is now an adult with a husband and daughter. Her daughter Jane is whipped away to Neverland and it falls on Wendy to get her back. Through flashbacks, we learn that after her return as a child, Wendy has had to struggle through obstacles resulting from her trip to Neverland. This story includes many, many flashbacks that show Wendy's life post Neverland. While there were some moments in the flashbacks that were important for context, I felt like most of it served no purpose to the present day conflict. They did provide background information but I don't think I needed to be given background information throughout majority of the book. It felt like the flashbacks into Wendy's past were meant to make me sympathize for her more or make me feel more attached to her but they didn't fulfill that purpose. If anything, I sympathized with her after hearing what she went through with her family at the very beginning. I didn't need so much in depth context of the events of her past. I'd rather her describe her past than show it in that way. Keep in mind that I personally don't enjoy flashbacks in books but others might really love them! This book also has multiple POVs which I enjoyed. I loved being able to know what was going on in Jane's POV while also being able to check in on Wendy's progress and thoughts. While I did enjoy the two POVs, I also think that their inner monologues were a little repetitive. Jane and Wendy had very repetitive thoughts and actions throughout most of the book. Basically I felt like most of the book I was either in Jane's head, Wendy's head, or I was reading through the past. Overall I LOVED the darkness and eeriness that was described in Neverland. It made me feel creeped out and the mystery behind what was lurking on the island made me want to keep reading. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at Peter Pan as a character the same way ever again and I love that this book influenced me in that way!

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