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 heard rave reviews about this title, but I must admit that I was really disappointed. Overall, the book isn’t as ‘haunting’ or ‘gripping’ as described. I kept waiting for a twist or for a shocking scene where I’d be desperate to get to the end, but this just didn’t happen. The ‘revelation’ at the end isn’t really that shocking because most of the book is pretty predictable and I saw it coming.
The book is from the point of view of the mother, Sarah, and she’s just not a likeable character. She has too much internal dialogue and she doesn’t let the reader realise anything for themselves. She’s also really naïve and delicate, and she asks too many rhetorical questions. She comes across as slightly neurotic, and the reader doesn’t like her enough to disregard her flaws.
I quite liked the husband, Angus. He was authentic and his societal reactions were realistic and effective to the plot. You are positioned to hate him in the novel because his daughter is supposedly ‘scared of him’, but it’s quite clear that he’s not the bad guy.
The setting in the novel helps to isolate the characters and force the reader to really focus on the plot and the relations between Angus and Sarah. I think the author did well to pace the story so that it didn’t move too quickly but it didn’t move too slowly either.
I do think it was missing something – the story just didn’t grab me. Maybe it was the characters and the circumstances. Maybe it was the setting. Or maybe it was the farfetched nature of the premise that disappointed me.
My Score: 5/10