Published by Harper Collins UK on 3rd September 2015
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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?
There’s something about twins that is utterly fascinating. Their ability to connect with each other on a level that most siblings cannot even comprehend; to be able to feel each other’s pain when thousands of miles separate them and the fact that the somewhat mythological idea of the doppelgänger can truly exist is impressive. There’s also something unsettling about identical twins that has been capitalised on by authors and film-makers for years – from “that scene” in THE SHINING to this stunning début THE ICE TWINS by S.K Tremayne.
From its first pages where a grieving family’s plight is presented to the reader, through the twisty turns that leave us almost breathless in panic to its shocking conclusion, THE ICE TWINS takes hold of the reader with its sharp, ice-cold hooks ensuring laser focus and attention on a story that will be hard to forget or move on from.
Angus and Sarah have been through the most unspeakable of tragedies to befall a parent – the death of a child. Left with the grief and guilt that cannot be eased, they are also desperately trying to keep it together for their surviving daughter, Kirstie whose face reminds them of their loss every day as it is identical to that of Lydia. When Kirstie starts to act in ways that are strangely reminiscent of her sister, Angus and Sarah decide a clean break is needed and move to an isolated Scottish island that was inherited, hoping to somehow put back together the shattered pieces of their lives. When Kirstie claims that she is in fact Lydia and they have been grieving for the wrong daughter, the fragility of their bond comes crashing down and both parents look accusingly at themselves and each other as their failure to their surviving child is cast in spotlight.
There’s nothing I adore more than a book that can make my heart pulse faster and this unsettling story of a family trying desperately to handle their grief did just that. From the beginning, I felt unsettled, constantly grasping at straws as I tried to find the truth in this story. Every time I thought I had a handle on things and had finally guessed which twist or turn was the truth, Tremayne pulled the rug from underneath me and I once again perched myself on the edge of my seat for the next starting revelation to chill me to my bones.
The psychological battle between Angus and Sarah constantly shifted my allegiance and I never knew quite where I stood with the parents or indeed the child. Tremayne’s examination of the family unit after suffering tragic loss and its subsequent scramble to survive and stay together is razor sharp and unforgiving in its scrutiny.
The book is beautifully paced and manages to never cross the line into the fantastical. The writing is stark, moody and perfectly matches the haunting and bleak Scottish backdrop highlighting the palpable grief and loneliness of this broken family against the beautiful and isolated landscape.
Highly enjoyable, full of delicious suspense, this accomplished thriller will send shivers down your spine with its magnificently creepy story – THE ICE TWINS is not to be missed.