Angus and Sarah Moorcraft had two beautiful identical twin girls, Kirstie and Lydia. They lived a good life in London and loved their little Ice Twins. A year ago, Lydia was killed in a terrible accident and her death has left the rest of the family bereft. Angus has lost his job and he and Sarah prepare to move to a small cottage on an island off the coast of Scotland that Angus inherited from his grandmother. Sarah has been unable to deal with the grief and guilt that she feels after Lydia's accident. Little Kirstie has lost the other half of herself and become a silent, brooding child. It's hoped that all of them can start afresh in the lighthouse keeper's cottage on Eilean Torran or, Thunder Island, in Gaelic.
However, life becomes even more complicated when Kirstie tells her parents that she is not Kirstie, she is Lydia. She says that Kirstie is the one who died. Sarah and Angus are unsure how to handle their daughter. Is she so disturbed that she is taking on her sister's identity or are there other forces at work? Knowing that their daughters were identical in every way, could they have been mistaken as to which child was lost? With winter approaching, Angus and Sarah's marriage is strained to the breaking point and their worries for their child become increasingly urgent. Is their lost daughter haunting them? A local fisherman tells Sarah that Eilean Torran has been known for years as a 'thin place':
'The locals, they used to call Torran a thin place. That means a place where there are spirits'--he chuckles into his glass--'real spirits, where the spirit world comes close.'
'Ach, load of nonsense,' says Gordon, eyeing me, and then Lydia. Carefully. He looks as if he wants to clout his young friend.
'No,' Alistair says, 'it's true, Gordon. Sometimes I think they've a point, y'know, Thunder Island and all that, it's like there is something, an atmosphere...Aye, a thin place. Where you can see the other world.'
As I said, this book reminded me of some other authors' works, namely Jennifer McMahon or even Stephen King a bit. A mixture of what could be troubled minds and psychological terror or maybe a little of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. The setting certainly supports the Gothic feel of things and local legends abound in Scotland, of course. It was hard to decide which way the story would go. A sad tale of a family so broken by grief and sorrow. The main characters are flawed and pretty hard to like. However, I found myself needing to know how things would sort out in the end.
I was mostly pleased with this book. It held my interest and I did find the setting so fascinating. What is about books set in the Hebrides? I've not ever visited, but I have seen pictures. A wild sort of beauty. Stark and gorgeous. I'd give this book mostly 2 thumbs up. I'll be watching for the next book by this author.