Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Book Review: The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

Tremayne, S.K. (Pub. 2015). HarperCollins 384 pages.

If I'm honest I wasn't expecting a great deal from this psychological thriller. I have been reading a lot more literary fiction these days and thought this story from an unknown author would be a quick easy read to give me a break from the intensity of university study. But can I just say... Wow! This is easily my favourite book of the year so far.

Following the death of Lydia, one of their identical twin daughters, Sarah and Angus make the decision to move to a remote island off the coast of Scotland, which they've inherited from Angus' grandmother. Angus has lost his job due to a violent flare-up with his boss as he struggles to come to terms with the loss of his daughter. The couple face financial ruin if they do not take drastic measures, so with the intention of a fresh start, and a project in renovating their new home, they sell up and head North. 

Their surviving twin, Kirstie is clearly traumatised by the death of her sister, especially as she was present when her sister fell from their grandparent's balcony to her death. Sarah and Angus pin their hopes on the move to Scotland being a positive one. Of course there would be no story if this was the case. I have decided not to give any spoilers away on this review, because if you do read The Ice Twins, you'll be amazed by the plot twists right up to the end.

Sadly the family spiral into a depressive decline as the story progresses. The bleak but beautiful backdrop of the island of Torran, completely complements the characters' crazed state of minds. Both Angus and Sarah have their secrets, and the lack of trust between them becomes a gaping pit of hostility and hatred. The death of Lydia completely tears their family unit apart, with each parent harbouring doubts about the other. Communication between the couple becomes dysfunctional, and the effect on their remaining daughter Kirstie is heart-wrenching. Faced with her sister's face every time she sees her reflection, Kirstie is confused about her identity and Sarah begins to wonder which of her daughter's actually died in that tragic accident. 

Tremayne cleverly foreshadows early on in the story to the final plot-twists. As a reader, I felt dismay, sympathy, anger, sorrow and hatred for all the main characters at one point or another. As the story reached its conclusion, and all the secrets were unravelled, I was left with such a feeling of sadness for the whole family. The poignant message of how tragedy can destroy lives, but also where there is life, there is hope.

The story is quite intense and creepy at times, and a great tension builder. You are left guessing right up until the end. I really cannot recommend this book enough. It is an easy read, but that does not mean it lacks quality. Quite the opposite. I believe The Ice Twins was S.K. Tremayne's debut novel. I cannot wait to read more from this author. This book was a wonderfully atmospheric, intense and realistic story.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book free of charge from Mumsnet Blogger's Network for review purposes. However all opinions are my own. No payment was made in exchange for this review.