What’s it about
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 was our book club read for February and a book that was already on my book shelf thanks to a fortunate win via Twitter.
Told from Sarah’s perspective in the first person, and her husband Angus’s in the third we meet them about a year or so after they’ve lost one of their twins. On the face of it, they’re getting on with everyday life, just about functioning it seems for the sake of their surviving daughter. The signs are there though, that one of them, or even both are on the very edges of depression and/or extreme grief, as I expect you would be after losing a child and then being faced with this, almost incomprehensible dilemma. It soon becomes apparent that things are not quite as they should be and that there are significant secrets and lies lurking in this family.
A couple of bloggers commented on my Wednesday post about the location and the whole escaping to an isolated island for therapeutic and healing purposes. Their thoughts:
Claire at Art & Soul:
“why, after a serious traumatic event, do characters so often move to an incredibly remote location where “bad stuff” is bound to happen?! It’s like they go, “Oh, I’m probably suffering from PTSD and likely to go crazy at any moment, so let’s move to the edges of civilization. I know, that dark, gloomy, isle would be good. The one with the marsh and unending storms where we’ll get cut off from the mainland regularly when the ferry can’t make the crossing. And there’ll be no phone signal. Perfect. Just the place to feel better.”
Donna at Chocolate n Waffles:
As Claire remarked, I wonder about the widespread need to get away from everything after a traumatic event. I know I’d be more reassured cooped up at home, in town, with the hustle and bustle of life around, but eh, I’m a coward anyway so I’d never choose a remote place prone to storms and power failures!
I didn’t actually think about this until I read these comments but then towards the end it became more apparent and then I started to question it for myself. However, the setting is a huge influence in this novel, as is the turbulent weather, which may not have worked quite as well if they had remained in London. The description of the mud flats, and the difficulty in crossing them to reach the mainland reminded me of The Woman in Black and the carriage that gets stuck in the marshes; quite haunting. The author has included old black and white photos of the house and the island which does add to the atmosphere of the book as they’re quite bleak!
I constantly questioned which twin had survived but also how it wasn’t possible that they couldn’t, for sure, tell which twin had died. The reasons are all addressed but I still had this little niggle in the back of my mind which kept saying there must be something…I’m not generally a fan of the term ‘page-turner’ but this book does engage you sufficiently that you are wanting to turn the pages that little bit faster and read just one more chapter.
Our book club general consensus was that it’s a gripping yarn; not without some unbelievable and questionable actions, but still worth the read!
Connect with the author SK Tremayne (aka Thom Knox) via Twitter