Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

The Ice Twins: A Novel
S.K. Tremayne
Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: May 19th, 2015
ISBN: 1455586056 / 9781455586059
Psychological Mystery/Thriller


 In the tradition of The Girl on the Train comes the UK bestseller THE ICE TWINS, a terrifying psychological thriller with a twisting plot worthy of Gillian Flynn.

One of Sarah's daughters died. But can she be sure which one?

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcroft 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, they are forced to confront what really happened on that fateful day.

What Did I Think About the Story?

Maybe it's just me, but I've always found identical twins to be somewhat creepy (truly, no offence to any identical twins out there, I'm purely going by their depiction in movies such as The Shining and the fact that I've read they seem to have an intense connection to each other's inner worlds, finishing each other's sentences, laughing together without saying a word, etc. I haven't, in fact, ever met true identical twins). So, when I read the synopsis of this novel and saw that it involved a surviving identical twin that might not be who they thought she was, I knew I wanted to read this book! Having now finished I'm very glad I did, because it not only has the central mystery of who is the surviving twin but adds a heavy dose of marital strife, secrets that should never have been hidden and even a nice dash of the paranormal.

The novel begins with Angus and Sarah Moorecroft trying desperately to move their family away from London to his ancestral home on a tiny, isolated island in the inner Hebrides near Skye.  Not only are they trying to move on from the horrible death of one of their young twin daughters a little over a year ago but they are also trying to find a fresh start for their crumbling marriage and a way out of the serious financial debt they have found themselves in. Solution: move the family to the rundown cottage on the beautiful yet treacherous "Thunder Island" right before the horrific winter weather blows in. Maybe not the best idea but off they go!

Right from the get-go it is quite clear there are a lot of issues within this family, above and beyond the death of their daughter. Both Angus and Sarah are keeping secrets and resentments from each other, both of which will come into play as the story progresses. On top of all this is the fact that, when Sarah tells her surviving twin daughter, Kirstie, that they are moving she tells her mother that she is not Kirstie but actually Lydia, the dead daughter! Well, needless to say, Sarah is quite disturbed by this news but decides not to say anything to her husband (a pattern for these two) and tries to get to the bottom of which daughter actually died and then get her surviving daughter the help she needs to move on from this tragedy. Sarah has no idea that Angus knows something regarding his daughter's identity confusion as well and is on his own mission to put to rights his family.

Once they move to the island the story really picks up. I was amazed at how well the author transported the reader to this often gloomy yet gorgeous environment and how she kind of makes the island and the dilapidated cottage its own character (and an intensely creepy one at that). You are always waiting for something to creep up behind the characters or materialize out of nowhere...the entire environment just feels haunted! Then we add an intensely confused and disturbed young girl and her broken parents to the mix and you can't help but feel chilled as the author slowly reveals the truth behind what the characters have been hiding from us through to an ending I never saw coming!

Now finished with the novel I'm still not completely sure I know all the facts of what happened and, to be honest, that is part of the charm of this novel. You've got these very flawed people, including a confused and disturbed young girl (from the descriptions and actions I kept picturing one of the twins from the movie Village of the Damned, if one of the twins died and left the other alone and bereft) and more secrets and lies than can be counted and at the end of the day, who really knows all of what happened. Anyone looking for an interesting family drama that takes place at a beautiful yet dangerous location and that has an overlaying feeling of dread and fright will find much to enjoy in The Ice Twins.

What Did I Think About the Cover? 

I'm not a fan. It reminds me of the beginning of all the Marvel comic book movies and doesn't really fit the somewhat sinister feeling of the novel. It does, however, represent the fractured state of the characters so I give it points for that.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Thank you to Tiffany Sanchez at Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a free copy of The Ice Twins in exchange for an honest review!

Praise for The Ice Twins

“Richly evocative and profoundly eerie, The Ice Twins is a mesmerizing story of grief, loss, and betrayal set against a backdrop that’s as beautiful as it is haunted, just like the tragic family at the story’s center.”—Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia
“Unbearably gripping and suspenseful.”—Sophie Hannah, international bestselling author of The Wrong Mother and The Dead Lie Down
“Chilling and utterly compulsive . . . As the action plays out in the claustrophobic confines of the cold, creepy island, it builds to an incredibly tense and shiver inducing conclusion.”—The Sunday Mirror (UK)
“The next Gone Girl . . . [An] eerie literary spine-chiller.”—Sunday Times Travel Magazine (U.K.)
“Very eerie”—Marie Claire (UK) (A “Must Read” selection)

About the Author


S. K. Tremayne is a bestselling novelist, award-winning travel writer, and a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines around the world. Born in Devon, the author now lives in London.

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