The Ice Twins, a review by Joanna

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The Ice Twins

S.K. Tremayne

373 pages

Published 2015

Harper Collins

♊️♊️♊️

The Ice Twins is a psychological horror-suspense novel about a couple, already broken by the death of one of their identical twin daughters, who rapidly unravel when they move to an isolated Scottish island. It’s a genre I’m generally trying to avoid, having overdone them in recent years, but I gave it a go anyway. As it turns out, I got sucked into the mystery, despite not really enjoying it, and can see why it has such varied ratings – I’m firmly in the middle three star zone.

Sarah and Angus Moorcroft have decided that they need a fresh start after the devastating loss of their six year old daughter Lydia. Struggling financially, after Angus’ drinking cost him his job, they are forced to sell their London house and move to the lighthouse cottage on a tiny island off Skye that he inherited from his grandmother. Believing that the move will help them and surviving twin Kirstie heal, they ignore warnings about the decrepit state of the house, and dangers of the fierce weather, but then Kirstie starts to insist that she is actually Lydia. How could they have got it all so wrong?
This is told from both Sarah’s first person present and Angus’ third person past POVs – unfortunately both characters are despicable – stupid, selfish and weak, their relationship appears to have been based on little more than physical attraction – and Sarah’s love for her daughters seems mainly inspired by how identically attractive they are. Kirstie/Lydia is a quietly creepy child – a large part of the suspense is what exactly her role in the tragedy was, and whether there’s anything supernatural going on. I ended up more concerned for the fate of their poor dog than any of the human characters. The setting is atmospheric and the writing competent, but too many plot implausibilities and the relatively slow pace (so much angst!) strained my patience. I did quite like the ending though. 3.5 rounded down for the present tense.

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