Our latest book club read was The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne which is a pseudonym for British author Sean Thomas. Thomas also writes religious/archaeological thrillers under the pseudonym Tom Knox. We ate at a little place called Geno’s Italian Deli which is a local restaurant. I had a sandwich called The Italian Mafia. It had ham and salami with a basil pesto spread and antipasto. Antipasto on a sandwich = Brilliant. It was just as delicious (and not as deadly) as it sounds. AND, they had some delicious tiramisu, my all-time favorite dessert. PLUS, the restaurant was next to Hobby Lobby so I bought some craft supplies on sale. ALSO, we all liked this book. So win-win-win-win!
Title: The Ice Twins
Author: S.K. Tremayne
Format I Read: Kindle
Synopsis: Sarah and Angus Moorcroft lived a perfect upper-middle class life in a perfect house with perfectly identical twin daughters until one day tragedy struck. One of the twins, Lydia, was killed in an accident. Both Sarah and Angus are overwrought with grief and the remaining twin, Kirstie, is desperately alone. The grief and emotional turmoil cause Sarah and Angus to lose jobs, friends, and everything they have worked for up to this point. In an attempt at a fresh start, they decide to take Kirstie and move to a cottage adjoining a lighthouse, left to them by Angus’ grandmother, on a secluded Scottish island. Then, the unthinkable happens. Kirstie tells Sarah that everyone has been mistaken and that she is in fact Lydia while Kirstie died in the accident. So begins the downward spiral of confusion, conspiracy, and deceit that their family must survive to figure out the truth of what happened that terrible day.
Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was twisty and the narrators are somewhat unreliable, but I think this allows readers to decide for themselves how they feel about the characters. Most of the chapters were told through Sarah’s point of view, but there were occasional chapters that were from Angus’ viewpoint. This was an interesting juxtaposition. Just as you felt comfortable with Sarah’s voice and opinions, Angus showed up and turned things on their head. I thought this was a unique way to force the reader to see the different sides of the story. It seems I’ve been reading quite a few books lately where the narrators shift from one character to another, but this one felt different in that Sarah and Angus are truly telling different stories. Tremayne was able to make their voices very unique from one another. Both Sarah and Angus are fairly unlikable characters, and hearing what they have to say about each other makes you like them even less.
Kirstie (Or is it Lydia? No spoilers here!) is a very sympathetic character; however, Tremayne does an excellent job of making her creepy and unsettling as well. One issue that worried me going into the book was how could a mother and father not tell which daughter is which, but the author was able to eliminate any possible ways of telling the twins apart. He lists unique identifiers that most identical twins possess and then dispels those theories in relation to Lydia and Kirstie. I felt this was important in making the scenario somewhat believable, which I thought it was.
The writing is very descriptive of the landscape which adds to the dreariness of the piece. A secluded island in the north of Scotland during winter sounds imposing and isolated enough, then add in the confusion and turmoil that the Moorcrofts are living through, and you end up with a dark tale indeed. In addition, we find out that Torran Island is a place where suspicious, perhaps ghostly, occurrences seem to happen on a regular basis making the setting a bit otherworldly. Torran is very much one of the characters in the book, and in some ways, is perhaps the most important character. The gray, windy chill of the place overtakes the story, and the coldness permeates the book making you feel not quite safe, not quite comfortable.
The ending of the book will leave you wondering, and you are allowed to draw your own conclusion about what exactly happens on Torran Island. In this instance I enjoyed the ambiguity, but if you need your endings wrapped in neat, little packages, this is not a book for you. It was a fairly fast, easy read. It’s not very long, but it also did not leave me wanting. If you enjoy a good mystery with loads of atmosphere and a setting that is as much a character as the people, then this book is definitely worth your reading time.