This is one of those books you see advertised everywhere: at the train station, on bus shelters and in neat little piles in your local bookshop. The tag line I saw was something like “One of Sarah’s daughters have died, but which one…”. I had to know.
This novel picks up with Sarah Moorcroft and her husband Angus 14 months after the death of their 6 year old daughter Lydia. The surviving twin Kirstie’s behaviour has become increasingly disturbing; she has become withdrawn, spends an unhealthy amount of time alone and her only friend is the family dog.
The effect of their young daughter’s death is devastating on the family; Angus starts drinking heavily and loses his job, whilst Sarah is convinced that something untoward was happening that contributed towards Lydia’s death on that fateful day.
Escalating financial difficulties lead to the family relocating to a remote island in the Hebrides. Angus inherited a ramshackle cottage from his aunt; the building is in disrepair (read should be condemned) and a boat is needed to access the mainland for food, necessities, people (no one can hear you scream).. Of course the Moorcrofts move before making the necessary repairs or purchasing a boat. The only other way to reach the island is a long walk across the mudflats whilst the tide is out.
‘In Skye, no one can hear you scream: half the houses along the shore are empty. Holiday homes. In winter the tide will come in, cold and lethal: you’d drown.’
Sarah and Angus are convinced that a change of scenery will help them get over Lydia’s death, but then Kirstie tells her mother that she is Lydia, and it was Kirstie who died that day.
Sarah doesn’t know what to believe, she has her own questions about what happened that day; was it Lydia or Kirstie that she lost? How could she have not known which twin survived, and what really happened?
The novel switches between Sarah and Angus’s points of view; neither character trusts the other, it is clear early on that at least one of them had an extra-marital affair and that neither are coping with the loss of their daughter. Add to this the creepy location, suspenseful atmosphere and the escalating strangeness of Kirstie’s behaviour, and you get a psychological thriller that you can’t put down. I started reading this at 10pm intending yo read a few chapters and stayed up until 3am to finish it, because I had to know what the hell was going on! This book twists and turns all over the place, and it is clear that both Sarah and Angus are hiding something. Also – Worst. Parents. Ever.
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