What’s it all 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?
What did WE think?:
CHRISSI: What were your first impressions of this book before beginning?
BETH: I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis! I love contemporary fiction with a bit of a psychological or thriller edge and this story seemed to tick all of the right boxes. I hadn’t read anything by the author before (I think!) and I really enjoy finding new people to add to my “must read in the future if they bring out another book” list. It’s a book that is on the Richard and Judy Autumn Book Club list here in the UK and as you know, we always try to read the books that they recommend so I always look forward to those and, to top it all off, this book is set on a remote island in Scotland! As a proud Scot, I get stupidly excited about books that are set in the beautiful parts of my country.
BETH: Discuss if you think the relationship between Sarah and Angus has any effect on Kirstie’s well-being.
CHRISSI: I do think the relationship had an effect on Kirstie’s well-being. From working with children, I know that the smallest (and biggest) effect them massively. I don’t think we realise how much children are drinking in at times, even when we they’re busy, they’re still soaking up so much information. With Sarah and Angus, their marriage was crumbling right from the start. It would take a strong marriage to not be affected by what they were going through.
CHRISSI: There is a terrible dilemma at the heart of this novel that leads to the question- what would you do?
BETH: Ooh, this is so hard! Okay, so the dilemma is that after the horrific death of Lydia, one of the twins, the surviving twin Kirstie suddenly turns round and tells her mother that they made a mistake and she is in fact Lydia. The twins are identical, even their DNA would match and the twin that died has been cremated so there is no way to check which twin is which in retrospect. I’m actually a scientist and I think if I was the twin’s mother I would have desperately tried to find a scientific way in which we could check which twin had died and which one survived! It’s not a nice situation to be in and I think Sarah does a good job with how she deals with the situation. It is obvious her first priorities are with the mental well-being of the child left behind.
BETH: Do you think the photographs in the novel contributed anything to the atmosphere of the story?
CHRISSI: I always think it’s interesting when author’s include photographs. It doesn’t always work, but I think it did with this particular story. I feel like photographs don’t always work because sometimes they’re not how we imagine things in our heads. However, with this story I certainly got a sense of loneliness from the photographs. They matched the story perfectly.
CHRISSI: Unless you have read about the author before, the reader isn’t aware if the author is male or female. Do you think this matters? I personally thought it was a woman!
BETH: As I mentioned before, I haven’t come across the author before and it’s always interesting when they choose to use the initials of their first and middle name to keep us guessing as to their gender. I found out the gender of the author before I read this novel quite by accident but if I had to guess at a gender from the writing I would probably guess that they were female too! I hate to presume these things but sometimes there seems to be a certain style associated with male and female authors – however, I love being surprised and proved wrong.
BETH: There is a suggestion of a supernatural element to this story – do you believe in ghosts?
CHRISSI: Ooh, interesting question. I definitely believe in all things supernatural, even though it scares me sometimes. Well… all the time. I don’t know whether I’ve just got an overactive imagination, but I definitely think there’s SOMETHING there, and the hint of supernatural in this story was fascinating and so well done!
CHRISSI: Discuss the ending of the novel without spoilers if you can! What do you think life holds for the characters?
BETH: Oh dear. The ending of the novel provides a resolution of sorts I guess but I have to say I was extremely surprised by the way in which the author took it. I wasn’t expecting it at all and it was a bit more interesting than the resolution you might expect from this sort of novel. As for what life holds for the characters, it really could go either way. There are still a lot of issues within the family and perhaps follow up issues to come as Kirstie/Lydia is still quite young. I would actually love a follow up to this story – please S.K. Tremayne?
BETH: Would you read another book from this author?
CHRISSI: I certainly would. I was really impressed by S.K. Tremayne’s writing and would love to read more, especially in the psychological thriller genre. I LOVE the genre!
Would we recommend it?:
BETH: Of course!
CHRISSI: Of course!
BETH’s star rating (out of 5):
CHRISSI’s star rating (out of 5):