Wednesday 11 March 2015

Book Review: The Ice Twins

When I read the email from Mumsnet Bloggers Network looking for reviewers for The Ice Twins, I felt compelled to apply.

The blurb below explains why...

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcroft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.

But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity - that she, in fact, is Lydia - their world comes crashing down once again.

As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed.  When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past - what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

First impressions

As one of the lucky chosen ten reviewers, I was delighted to receive not only the book but an accompanying package containing camomile tea, a Kitkat and a tealight. These were designed to help the reader #SurvivetheNight, as the story was touted as a suspenseful read that would keep the reader awake into the wee small hours.

I rarely buy new hardback books, so the arrival of one through the letterbox was exciting in itself for me!  I thought that both the words and the imagery on the cover worked well and added to the sense of intrigue. No further encouragement was needed to get started...

The setting

Much of the action takes place on the tiny Inner Hebridean Eilean Torran (Thunder Island), on which the Moorcrofts are the sole residents. Their isolation, and Sarah's lack of familiarity with island life, adds to the atmosphere.  As a Scot, I was relieved that much was made of the beauty of the scenery as well as the harsh weather conditions!

The story

I'm mindful not to include any spoilers here.  The suspense in this story starts to build from the outset. The Moorcrofts' situation is a complex one.  Not only have they lost a child but Sarah and Angus have additional significant struggles - both as individuals and within their marital relationship. There is much talk of the sea and wild weather conditions and, indeed, the reader is also swept among waves of ideas and nuances that keep them guessing as to the answers behind the Moorcrofts' surviving daughter's identity.  I suspect that most readers will be kept guessing right up to the very end of this one.

Personal thoughts

The thoughts that follow are purely personal. Others may feel very differently...

As regards the characters, this was one of those books where my sympathies didn't really rest with one character.  Both Angus and Sarah are flawed (but aren't we all?!). Hints throughout the book about their darker sides are intriguing as they keep the reader toying with theories as to who might truly be at fault.  The downside to this, for me, was that I didn't really form an attachment to either of them.

I did, however, find the surviving twin's anguish during the book quite distressing. There are a number of traumatic scenes featuring Kirstie/Lydia and, indeed, she is unhappy throughout most of the story.  I think readers will feel for the little girl at the heart of this book - the author capably captures her despair, frustration and withdrawal from others.

In terms of the plot, it really is quite fast paced. For me, there were almost too many twists and turns to the story. I should confess here that I'm the sort of person who frequently has to pause a film and ask my fellow viewers for explanations... Although I might have preferred a slightly slower, more drawn-out build-up, I am equally aware that other readers will relish the speed and multi-faceted nature of the story.  


When friends found out I had a copy of The Ice Twins, their reaction was: "Oh, I want to read that book."  I'll recommend that they do.

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A review copy of this book was sent to me free of charge by Mumsnet Bloggers Network. All opinions are my own and no payment was received in return for this review.


  1. Pass it next door then....
    Glad you enjoyed's been on my to read list for a few weeks now.