A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft 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?
I have avoided buying The Ice Twins for so long because I was convinced it was going to be too scary for me (I openly admit that I’m a complete and utter wimp!) but I’ve continued to be intrigued by it so when I saw it in a recent Kindle book sale I decided to buy it.
I started reading it straight away just to see what it was like and I literally didn’t put it down again until I’d finished reading! This book is so fast-paced and has so many twists and turns that there really isn’t a good place to stop, and to be honest nor did I really want a stopping place as I was desperate to know the truth about which twin had died!
I found this book intriguing from the start; the idea of giving birth to two completely identical twins and there being no way at all to tell them apart is such a great basis for this novel. Sarah was encouraged by a nurse to have one of the twins subtly tattooed with a small dot just so they would always know which one was which but Sarah and Angus, understandably, didn’t want to mark either of their perfect daughters in any way. So, they decided to always dress them in at least one item of clothing of a particular colour – so one twin always had a yellow item and the other always had a blue item. The sense of foreboding from this early point on in the book was great though because it is quite obvious that as soon as the twins were old enough they would love playing tricks on people and swapping clothes etc, which is what they had begun to do during the summer in the year that Lydia died.
This book does require the reader to suspend disbelief a little because when you have two young children who have enjoyed swapping identities and one of them dies, it seems very odd to me that you would take the word of the surviving twin about who had died. Children are unable to fully comprehend death or the idea of forever so cannot be trusted in a situation like this because to them it could all be a game. I was happy to suspend disbelief though as I wanted to see where the novel went from here.
The family decide to move to a very remote island that Angus has recently inherited. It’s a very bleak, atmospheric place that needs a lot of work doing to it, and works perfectly for this novel. The sense of isolation and despair mirrors perfectly the grief and conflicted emotions that Angus and Sarah, and Kirstie were feeling at this point in time.
It’s hard to review this book without giving any spoilers but what I loved was the way all the characters played their part in the confusion about which twin died so as the layers of the story were gradually pulled back I was never sure who to believe. It seemed plausible that these parents had actually buried the wrong child but it seem equally likely that Kirstie was just continuing on with her childhood game and didn’t understand the terror she was causing in her parents.
I loved the psychological elements of this book, the idea of identity and how it isn’t necessarily a fixed thing. It was great how the family were being haunted by Lydia, or Kirstie, whichever one of them was actually dead, but it was written in such a way that this could have been a ghost story, or it could have been sheer hysteria that they got swept up in, or it could have been a mix of the two. At times it was a little like a modern day Turn of the Screw – the way that someone could be being haunted, or they could be mad or, and this is perhaps the most scary idea, they could be experiencing both. Just because someone is paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not right about the strange, seemingly unexplained things that are happening around them.
It was brilliant how, as the novel began building towards the climax, I began to question absolutely everything, I was so wrapped up in it that I felt I was right there with the characters and unsure what was real and what was not. The interchanging personality of the surviving twin, be it Kirstie or Lydia, just heightened it. The ending of the novel was brilliant, it’s one of those endings that will stay with me for a really long time.
The Ice Twins is a very creepy, unnerving novel and once it has you in its clasps it won’t let go until long after you’ve finished reading! I rated this novel 4.5 out of 5 and highly recommend it.
The Ice Twins is available to buy from all good book shops.
30 thoughts on “Review: The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne”
Oh I’m so glad you loved this book as much as I did! I adore twin books as I find the psychology surrounding their relationships fascinating! I have twin daughters so that’s probably why!! Great review and so glad you took the plunge! x
Torn on this, I don’t know about a premise where you don’t recognise your own child? I know that that’s the whole thing, they are twins but … don’t think I could read this with anything less than cynicism:(
I have problems with my twins and they aren’t even identical! I had a whole conversation with one of them once and didn’t realise till she started laughing at the end that I wasn’t speaking to the right one! It’s always easier when they are together (even though family still struggle) but it’s much more difficult when one is on their own as there is nothing to compare. So I did put aside any doubts and just went with the flow 🙂
Hmm, okay, might bear that in mind and rethink so!
I didn’t think it was completely plausible but it was easy to suspend disbelief and get past it. Plus the way the novel progresses there are reasons for why it got so complicated, so it becomes more believable.
It was such a great read, I can’t believe I avoided reading it for so long! Wow, it must have been fascinating for you to read when you have twins yourself. Did you find it completely believable that the parents didn’t recognise which daughter survived? x
I absolutely did! I still struggle even now and they are 22! x
Your twins are 22? You don’t look anywhere near old enough to have grown up children! x
Haha that’s the beauty plus app I use on my pics!! Knocks about 10 years off. I’m 51 with 3 grown up daughters and 3 grandchildren with another on the way.
Wow! I would never have guessed that you were any older than me! x
Oh thank you! 😆😆 x
Awesome review! 🙂 I am glad you liked it as much as I did, and you did a great job in reviewing it. I found the story so fascinating. I agree, once you’ve started, there’s no good point to stop. The book draws you in and before you realize it, you question everything and you just go with the flow until you get your answers.
Thank you so much! 🙂 It’s such a great book, I’m so glad that I gave it a chance at last. It had me engrossed the whole way through wondering what was going on.
There’s something about the story that prevents you from putting it down before you get to the end of it.
I’ve had this on my kindle for ages and really want to read it…I just need to get round to it – sounds great!
It was such a good read, I definitely recommend it.
As the mother of 5 year old twins this both intrigues me and terrifies me! It does sound so good though.
Cathy, can you tell your twins apart just by looking at them, even when others can’t?
Everyone can as they are boy and girl!!
Oh, ha 😀
Oh gosh I can see why it would – I’m not sure I’d read it quite yet if I were you. It was a great read though, definitely one to read at some point.
Gah! I try to not get new books, but every time a review of this one pops up in my feed, I feel my resolution waver! One thing that I always think about, though: I have identical twin uncles. In their younger pictures, even high school, I CANNOT tell them apart. But their mother, sisters, and brother can very easily. Even in baby pictures, their family can tell. It’s weird. I’m not sure how they do it. I wonder if the parents of these girls could do that but were confused in their grief?
I avoided buying this for so long but I’m really glad I gave it a go in the end. I did feel like I had to suspend my disbelief in the beginning because I felt sure a parent would always know which twin was which but things get more complicated and twisty in this book so it kind of comes to make sense why it was confusing to the parents. There was only one element to it that annoyed me and didn’t seem believable but it was a tiny thing, and the story is so good that you do get swept up in it.
Excellent! I’ll put it on my to read list!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I’ll be sure to link to your review on my blog when I share my own review!
Thank you. 🙂
I was a bit mixed on this one… and – from memory – a tad confused at the end. It was almost like the book became something I wasn’t expecting.
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