Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

The Twin’s Daughter
by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
August 31, 2010 
Borrowed from Library
Amazon Page
Goodreads Page
Grade: B+

Synopsis (from Publisher): Lucy Sexton is stunned when a disheveled woman appears at the door one day...a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lucy's own beautiful mother. It turns out the two women are identical twins, separated at birth, and raised in dramatically different circumstances. Lucy's mother quickly resolves to give her less fortunate sister the kind of life she has never known. And the transformation in Aunt Helen is indeed remarkable. But when Helen begins to imitate her sister in every way, even Lucy isn't sure at times which twin is which. Can Helen really be trusted, or does her sweet face mask a chilling agenda?

Filled with shocking twists and turns, The Twin's Daughter is an engrossing gothic novel of betrayal, jealousy, and treacherous secrets that will keep you guessing to the very end.

This book creeped me out. I seriously stayed up until about 5am so I could finish it and find out what the HECK was going on. (What the heck in a good way. I could not figure it out.)

This was an old-fashioned Gothic horror novel that probably would’ve been published as an adult novel if YA wasn’t having such a renaissance because it read very much like the old-fashioned Victoria Holt/Daphne DuMaurier/even Ann Radcliffe (if we’re going to get old school) type of story. There were Gothic plot twists galore from identical twins parted at birth to hidden passageways to threatening stepfathers to a protagonist who rarely leaves her home.

Speaking of, I actually really loved the old-fashionedness of that last. Lucy, our book-reading heroine, stays home like a proper upper class lady of the early 20th century unless she’s paying calls with her mother or walking in the park with a chaperone. It’s not a lifestyle I would ever enjoy, but it’s completely appropriate for the time period and very rare to see used in a modern book. I like it when heroines aren’t always snarky and spunky. Lucy was thoughtful and over-analyzed things and people way, way too much. But she remained a good judge of character - and she knows it. Which makes the denouement that much more confusing and traumatising for her. Oh, and she liked to read. A lot. I’d make me so happy to draw a parallel between Lucy Sexton and Northanger Abbey’s Catherine Morland just because it amuses me, but beyond the obvious heroines in a ‘Gothic’ novel sense, the only comparison is in my imagination...and the fact both like to read. A lot. And that neither, if seen in their infancy, would have supposed them to be born a heroine.

Though we see them only from Lucy’s perspective, the supporting cast was well-developed also. The identical twins, Aliese and Helen, remained a bit mysterious as they really needed to in order for the plot to work, but watching as Lucy begins to not be able to tell the difference between her mother and her Aunt Helen was chilling. Lucy’s father and Kit, the handsome boy next door, were more fully drawn as Lucy knows them better, and both were characters I enjoyed very, very much. (I want a Kit. Can I have one now please?)

This is the first book I’ve read by the author, and I’ll be happy to see if the library has any other copies of her work. The Twin’s Daughter wasn’t the best book I’ve read this month or this year, but it was a creepy and fun ride...just don’t expect to go to bed once you get into it.

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