• Dean Asquith

DARK LULLABY by Polly Ho-Yen

A powerful dystopianthriller centering on one mother’s fight to keep her family together in a society where parenting standards are strictly monitored.


The world is suffering an infertility crisis, the last natural birth was over twenty years ago and now the only way to conceive is through a painful fertility treatment called induction. Any children born are strictly monitored, if you are deemed an unfit parent then your child is extracted. After witnessing so many struggling to conceive – and then keep – their babies, Kit thought she didn’t want children. But then she meets Thomas and they have a baby girl, Mimi. Soon the small mistakes, IPSs, build up and suddenly Kit is faced with the possibility of losing her daughter, and she is forced to ask herself how far she will go to keep her family together.

Exploring the intense pressures of early parenthood and current anxieties about mass surveillance and government, Dark Lullaby is a dark and compelling reflection of a plausible future. It is also an intimate story about love, sisters, friendship and grief. Ho-Yen skillfully heightens the suspense using taut past and present timelines that coalesce into a hard hitting, and profoundly impactful finale. A must read for fans of Anne Charnock’s Dreams Before the Start of Time and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Dark Lullaby is a harrowing and raw account of a desperate mother willing to go to any lengths to hold onto her child.


Polly Ho-Yen lives in Bristol with her husband. She used to be a primary-school teacher and now writes fiction for children (9-12 year olds) with a sci-fi or fantasy twist. She has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. Dark Lullaby is her first adult novel.

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