Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Ice Twins ~ S.K. Tremayne (earc) review [@HarperCollinsUK]

The Ice Twins
Harper Collins
January 29, 2015
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon UK

(US publication May 19, 2015 by Grand Central Publishing - add to Goodreads/pre-order from TBD/or Amazon)

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?

"I [,,,] gaze around our big bright Camden kitchen . . . all of it screaming: this is the kitchen of a well-to-do middle-class couple!
And all of it is a lie." -pg 26

From the beginning of S.K. Tremayne's The Ice Twins it is clear that appearances can be deceiving. It's been just over a year since one of their identical twin daughters died and the interim has not been kind to their family. With both financial troubles and marital difficulties weighing on them, moving to the tiny, remote Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother seems the perfect solution.

But their lives - and their plan for a new beginning - hit a snag when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, says she's not Kirstie, after all but Lydia, the girl they believed died. A horrible, horrible mistake has been made.

The Ice Twins features narration from both parents, Angus and Sarah. The changes in narrator seem to happen at he perfect time. It's clear from the start that Angus and Sarah's lives are not all they had hoped for - and not just because of their daughter's death. We hear of the perfect, envied life that they had. A life that can easily be contrasted with their current life and relationships.

The dual narration also allows readers to know - or at least know of - some of the myriad of lies and secrets the couple are keeping from each other. Even, or perhaps especially, as some of it is only hinted at, you get a good idea of their relationship and how they view each other.

As the story progresses, with the move to the island, the attempts at starting life anew, we see just how dark and twisted their life may be. From the secrets to the lies, the omissions, the difficulties in their new life, the pain and betrayals of the past, everyone's motives and perceptions are suspect.

It isn't clear who the good or bad guys in this tale. Or if they're it's all been so muddied that there really is no 'good' or 'bad.'

Sarah and Angus drink too much, they keep things from each other, they suspect each other, they get angry . . . and as each of them tells the story, often casting aspersion on the other's actions or beliefs, it's hard to know which, if either, of them to believe.

I loved not knowing which character could be relied on, who might be exaggerating or misinterpreting or remembering incorrectly. Not knowing if the characters were all, really, sane. Not knowing if Kirstie was Lydia or Kirstie or what. Not even knowing for sure what genre the book was falling into, so not knowing what could be believed.

The Moorcroft's are a deeply flawed family. Some of it a result of the tragedy they experienced a year ago, some of it preceding that and part of who the characters are, their pasts. The death of one daughter nearly unravel's them but when it comes out they may have gotten her identity wrong, all of their secrets, their lies threaten to come out.

received for review from publisher, via NetGalley

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