This is a tale spanning from the early 1970s to the late 1980s told through the eyes of identical twins Isolte and Viola. Their mother Rose is a free spirit their father is a mystery. Rose has bought her girls up in line with her free and wild lifestyle, but on their move from a commune in Wales to the Suffolk countryside she decides to stop home schooling the twins and send them to the local school. Their home-made clothes and unconventional education don’t help the twins to fit in with their classmates, something not helped by them being kept down a year and therefore attending the local primary school instead of the secondary along with their peers. With no friends the girls roam wild in the local woods and meet up with another set of identical twins, Michael and John.
The author has structured the book so that the narrative not only switches between Isolte and Viola but also in time periods too at times it takes a while to work out which twin is narrating, however I did enjoy the patchwork style of building up what happened in the girl’s past against their lives in the present. This naturally lends a feeling of tension to the storyline as pieces of information are revealed and explains why the twins are haunted by events in 1972 before they left Suffolk to start another new life in London with their aunt.
This is a haunting tale and there is no doubting the writing ability of Saskia Sarginson which led to this book being chosen as one of Richard and Judy’s Book Club in the Autumn list of 2013, but if I’m honest although I wanted to know more, the gaps in the timeline caused far too many questions for my liking which combined by the slow pace meant that I was not as enthralled by this book as her later novel The Other Me.
I am a big fan of dual timeline stories but in this instance the story set in the 1970s was of far more interest than that of the 1980s where one works as a fashion editor for a magazine whist the other is hospitalised through anorexia. Part of the problem with the present tale was there simply wasn’t much action as both girls in different ways, ruminated on the past which led to the unravelling of their childhood. What was interesting in this section was to see how the two reacted to these same events in different ways and how the long buried secrets still effected them both fifteen years later.
What Saskia Sarginson managed exceptionally well was the time period. The occasional, mention of brands and attitudes of the two time periods, caused sparks of nostalgia which worked particularly well with the author using these references sparingly to evoke the time without it becoming a book about ‘Do you remember when x happened?’ or ‘Do you remember when we used to do y and eat z?’ The scenes set in the Sussex countryside in a cottage with an outside privy was also exceptionally well done; I had no problems at all visualising the two girls with in a dank cottage eating foraged produce whilst their mother rustled up another misshapen dress for them to wear.
This is book had an original feel to it and will definitely appeal to those who are interested in twin stories with not one but two sets to examine in this wide-ranging story.
First Published UK : March 2013
No of Pages:368
Genre: Contemporary Fiction Amazon UK Amazon US
Wow the end of August already and I’m ready for some autumn evenings reading, these differ to my summer evenings reading as they tend to have the addition of a blanket to keep me warm!!
At the moment I am reading A Man With One of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell, a new writer of Irish crime fiction, in readiness for publication on 5 September 2016.
The First time somebody tried to kill him was an accident.
The second time was deliberate.
Now Paul Muchrone finds himself on the run with nobody to turn to except a nurse who has read one-too-many crime novels and a renegade copper with a penchant for violence. Together they must solve one of the most notorious crimes in Irish history…
…or else they’ll be history. Goodreads
I have just finished The Twins by Saskia Sarginson which made for compelling reading, my review will follow shortly.
Next I am going to read The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe which will be published on 8 September 2016 by Bonnier Zaffre – it has been billed as ‘No ordinary psychological thriller’ so I’m eager to see what it has in store for me.
A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway. The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace. But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete?
Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation. As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible.
But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover? NetGalley
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.
Today my opener comes from a book that has been neglected on my bookshelf for way too long: The Twins by Saskia Sarginson, and the last book I’m going to squeeze into my 20 Books of Summer!
They were inseparable until an innocent mistake tore them apart.
Growing up, Viola and Issy clung to each other in the wake of their mother’s eccentricity, as she dragged them from a commune to a tiny Welsh village. They thought the three of them would be together forever.
But an innocent mistake one summer set them on drastically different paths. Now in their twenties, Issy is trying to hold together a life as a magazine art director, while Viola is slowly destroying herself, consumed with guilt over the events they unknowingly set into motion as children.
When it seems that Viola might never recover, Issy returns to the town they haven’t seen in a decade, to face her own demons and see what answers, if any, she can find. Goodreads
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro
We weren’t always twins. We used to be just one person. The story of our conception was the ordinary kind they tell you about in biology lessons. You know how it goes: an athletic sperm hits the egg target and a new life forms.
So there we were, a single ho-hum baby in the making. Then comes the extraordinary part, because that egg split, tearing in half, and we became two babies. Two halves of a whole. That’s why it’s weird but true – we were one person first even if only for a millisecond.
So what do you think? Would you keep reading? Or perhaps you’ve read this one already since I’m so late to the party?
Please leave your links, comments etc. in the envelope below
Cathy at Cathy 746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2016 and running until 5 September 2016, and I’ve decided to join her.
As I’m competitive I signed up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf, physical books that I already own before the end of the challenge. I’m on book nine at the moment (although only up to review number five) and as I only chose the first ten books at the start, I promised I’d add the second set half way through the challenge – so here we are books eleven to twenty!
So what do you think of the second half of my choices? Do you have any suggestions on where I should start or perhaps you think some of these need to be put back on the shelf and forgotten about? All comments welcomed!