The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne
You won't find an author photograph accompanying this review because, at this time, there isn't one. Well, there isn't one we're allowed to know about for now. S.K. Tremayne is the pseudonym of "a journalist and bestselling writer who lives in London." Unlike people who still like to complain that they don't understand why J.K. Rowling used a pseudonym for her Robert Galbraith books, I've no issues with pseudonyms. I understand that they're typically used because the author, often already successful with writing one sort of narrative, doesn't want their readers to expect that same sort of writing when they explore different ideas. I mean, look at what happened to Rowling when she published A Casual Vacancy under Rowling. I saw multiple goodreads reader reviews flat-out saying, "This isn't Harry Potter so I hate it and I'm going to give it one star." If we do ever discover the author's real name, I'll be interested to know if it's someone I've already read.
The truth is, I was a bit nervous about requesting an early review copy of The Ice Twins (provided by Grand Central Publishing/Hachette). I don't much care for the American cover of the book (it's rather nondescript) and the UK cover (this was released on January 29th in the UK), above, is okay but sort of reminds me of a cheesy/grade B horror movie and it was that sort of storyline I worried about finding inside. I don't mind those sorts of movies, sometimes, but it's not typically what I'm looking for in a novel.
But I was drawn in by the setting; a tiny and remote island in the Hebrides. I've been there, to the Hebrides, and more than a dozen years later retain dreams and memories of the light and water, and the incredible sensation of visiting the Calanais Stones. So I couldn't resist.
The book opens with Sarah and her husband, Angus, in their solicitor's office. A year before, they'd lost one of their twin daughters in a tragic (although aren't they always?) accident, and are snatching at the opportunity to move to a decrepit lighthouse and cottage on the island, left to Angus by his grandmother. They hope that moving their surviving daughter to the island and restoring the home will help them all heal. But even before they move to such a stark, dangerous, remote setting, the surviving twin starts asking, "Why are you calling me Kirstie? I'm Lydia. Kirstie is the one who died."
Ooooo, but I was angry while reading this book. Angry at one of the narrators (and then both of them), because in part the author frustrated me with the way the information was presented, but mostly because I wanted to find out what was/did/was going to happen. I was also angry at the world in general for intruding upon the story, for making me put the book down to work, drive, eat, basic survival stuff. I was just so anxious to keep reading.
I enjoyed The Ice Twins quite a lot. Engrossing, scary, with some eloquent writing. I often want to read books because of their covers; I'm glad that this time I didn't let my hesitation over the cover dissuade me from the fantastic story inside.
Oh, also? There are a few photographs of the island and the home scattered throughout the novel; they provide a lovely creepiness and I spent far too long wondering about their origin.
The Ice Twins will be released in the United States on May 19, 2015.