Friday, August 5, 2011

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

Synopsis: Lucy Sexton is stunned when a disheveled woman appears at the door one day . . . a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to her own beautiful mother. The two women are identical twins, separated at birth and raised in dramatically different circumstances: one as a member of high society, the other in a workhouse. Lucy's mother quickly resolves to give her sister the kind of life that she had never known, and the transformation in Aunt Helen is remarkable. As time goes by, Lucy herself transforms into a young woman, falling in love with a childhood friend she was once sure she hated. But in what should be a happy household, something is very, very wrong. And as Aunt Helen and Lucy's mother become ever more indistinguishable, Lucy begins to suspect that her aunt's now familiar face may mask a chilling agenda.

Review: This story had a lot of potential for being one of the best stories of mistaken identity and revenge I have ever read. The Author keeps things moving very well from the very beginning, dropping hints to a future twist that the Reader will not forget. Lucy is a witty, but proper, narrator who won't allow her Readers to miss out on the action. But here is where the good factors end.

Enter Kit (Christopher) Tyler, the main young man. I was dubious about the romance in this story from the beginning - I always am, just to be on the safe side. But I liked Kit; he was a very nice, honest boy. So I didn't understand why Lucy was such a jerk to him. It's like the Author wanted to have the whole modern trend of "heroine thinks she hates hero, treats him like garbage, then falls in love with him," but was conscious halfway through that such behavior did not suit Lucy's personality at all (it was really out of place), so rather than just rewriting it, she decided that Lucy gets over her sauciness very quickly and becomes fast friends with Kit. All this does is make Lucy seem bipolar.

Things progress downhill rapidly from there. The Author continues to maintain the suspense, and I spent the whole time thinking, Any minute now, things are going to be unveiled. Well, things are unveiled all right - far more things than need be, and not the sort of things that I was expecting. Let us start with female puberty, shall we? I am not a great advocate for putting such private, though natural, details in a story. No female wants to read a detailed account of a character going through female changes, and no male should know about it - and they certainly shouldn't learn about it from a book. Sometimes such things must be touched upon, but the Author of The Twin's Daughter did more than just touch upon it, all the while attempting to write it in delicate words, but there comes a point where one goes into so much detail that no amount of polite phraseology is going to rescue it.

Next up is the sexual content. For the most part, this remains in the "reference only" category, where things are alluded to when talking about certain people, and that is about it, with the exception of kissing scenes that start to progress into a little too much intimate touching and "mysterious" noises emitting from bedrooms. But in Chapter 42, page 366-369 we have an actual bedroom scene that is not horribly explicit, but comes so close to being thus that it's a wonder the Author didn't go into full-fledged descriptions. The only positive thing I can say about this absolutely unnecessary - and very private - scene is that at least the characters were married. But that gave me very little comfort, because books just should not include such intimate scenes even between married couples. Some things need to be left behind doors and not shared with the public, even in fiction. Leave it to the Reader to conclude that marriage usually leads to the sort of wonderful love that produces children, and don't literally spell it out.

Finally, the twist is revealed - and it is not at all what I was expecting. And I don't mean that in a good way. It reminded me of a perfect plot for a soap opera, actually, and in the end the characters are either completely immoral or go through a complete change of personality as to leave the Reader feeling like the only thing they can side with is that poor houseplant in the corner which has had to witness everything right along with you.

The Twin's Daughter could have been so good, but in the end, it is just one big letdown with way too many intimate moments that no one should have to read.

Overall Rating: 

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