I didn’t get around to posting this review last week because things got very hectic, but rest assured I’m still here! I could probably review this book in five words: I wish I’d written it. Simple as, really! But I suppose I’d better go into a bit more detail, hadn’t I?
Author: S. K. Tremayne
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (29 Jan. 2015)
One of Sarah’s daughters died. But can she be sure which one? A terrifying psychological thriller perfect for fans of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN.
A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.
But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity – that she, in fact, is Lydia – their world comes crashing down once again.
As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past – what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?
This is a taut, delicious, psychological thriller that explores the impact that grief, and fear, can have on the average person. This novel is about relationships, about family, about the past and the future converging. And, you know, twins.
What I liked:
I’ve always been fascinated by twins, especially identical twins. And the idea that even the parents might not be able to tell their own children apart? A chilling idea in itself. And the very twin-ness of the book is what makes it so creepy – mirrors and reflections in dark windows, a little girl who is so connected with her dead sister that even she doesn’t know who she is. This book has CREEPY in spades. Tremayne has done a fabulous job of creating this dual-ness, right down to one parent favouring one twin and the second parent the other, creating this dynamic of paranoia, of favouritism, of a sort of danger that is around every corner when emotions are toyed with.
Angus and Sarah can’t tell their daughters apart, and so when one of them dies, how do you move on from that? This is the basic question, and one the novel does deal with. But the fall-out from that is more complex, and the novel also explores why everything has happened and has you on the edge of your seat while doing it.
2. Remote location
The setting in this book is chilling. Isolation is the perfect addition to the creepiness of twins – and you put a family on a remote island, cut off from the world by a dangerous rolling tide, after suffering a great loss, and this novel is what you get. Dark, confused, delicious… The fictional island off the Scottish coast is brooding, the weather tempestuous, providing a perfect backdrop for such a spooky story.
The novel is narrated by the two Moorcroft parents, Sarah and Angus – Sarah in first person and Angus in third. The narration, in my opinion, is virtually flawless. The characters are well-developed, their voices distinct enough that one can easily tell them apart, but not too distinct – for spoilerific reasons. I won’t go into it too much, but the very ending of the novel was the thing that threw me the most, and I did not see it coming. Not one bit. Fantastic! Usually I can’t say that, so that’s awesome in my book.
Okay, yeah, this is one of those novels. I could gush and gush about everything I liked, but finding something else to say? Not so easy. Oops. All I can say is that I read this book in less than two sittings, didn’t sleep and didn’t eat until I was done. I devoured it.
And the hardback is only £5 on Amazon right now, so you should go and buy it so we can talk about it. Please?