The Ice Twins by SK Tremayne (Grand Central Publishing, May 19th, 2015)-If you’re looking for a well-plotted gothic mystery, The Ice Twins definitely fits the bill. When one of Sarah and Angus Moorcroft’s twin daughters is killed in an accident, both parents find themselves adrift, although in different ways, and the remaining twin, seven year old Kirstie begins to insist she’s actually Lydia, Sarah and Angus begin to have serious doubts. Could they have actually thought the wrong twin was dead? The question lingers, but the inheritance of a remote Scottish island gives them hope for a new start.
The author uses the remoteness of the island to great effect in highlighting the different ways a child’s death can affect a family. Angus and Sarah are already distant, and it’s obvious Angus resents Sarah, but in the beginning it’s not readily evident as to why. Sarah feels the distance, but is sure in her love for her husband, and is desperate to make her little family work, even as Kirstie struggles at her new school, her odd behavior alienating her from the rest of the children, and growing more alarming by the second. And there’s still the question of whether Kirstie is Kirstie, or if she’s actually Lydia. The tension builds as secrets that both Angus and Sarah have been keeping start coming to the surface, and the wildness of their new home further alienates them from not only friends and family, but from each other, and creates a perfect storm for disaster. The story is told alternately in first person by Sarah, and in third person from Angus’s point of view, and they’re fully realized characters. They’re flawed, and stubborn, sometimes selfish, but what is never in question is their desperate love for their remaining daughter, which is what ultimately drives the book, and makes it such a ultimately gutwrenching read. Nicely done psychological nailbiter with a very creepy twist.