The Twin's Daughter
by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Release Date: August 31, 2010
2010 Bloomsbury Children's Books
Softcover Edition; 346 Pages (ARC Edition)
Genre: Young Adult Historical
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
4.5 / 5 Stars
Lucy Sexton is stunned when her mother's identical twin sister shows up at the family's front door one day. Separated at birth, the two sisters have had dramatically different upbringings - and have never known of the other's existence. Lucy's mother soon becomes determined to transform her sister Helen into the kind of lady that all of society will admire. And the change in Aunt Helen is remarkable. But is it just Lucy's imagination, or does Aunt Helen seem to delight in being mistaken for Lucy's mother...especially where Lucy's father is concerned? Then one day Lucy is horrified to stumble upon the scene of a brutal murder in her own house. Who is behind the vicious slaying - and who has been left alive?
I started reading this book because I was intrigued by the cover and also because it was a new book by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, whom I did not know was releasing another new book. I did not know what to expect, but as soon as I started reading it, I was instantly intrigued by the storyline and I couldn't put it down.
The Twin's Daughter has a whole cast full of interesting and intriguing characters and for me, this has always been important in a novel. The story is told from the viewpoint of the daughter Lucy, a young girl of thirteen, who really is a product of her lifestyle; somewhat snooty, wealthy, educated, and used to having all of the luxuries that life entails. As a young girl, she somewhat got on my nerves once in a while, but she really grew on me as she matured and developed. I really enjoyed the witty dialogue between she and her neighbour Kit as they explored their relationship and dealt with some of the usual issues that most teenagers develop. I also really liked the characters of Aunt Helen, Mother, and Father, although those characters also changed as the novel progressed. I found the scene between Aunt Helen and Lucy as Lucy becomes a woman to be charming, but hysterically funny. It was some of those little moments that made the novel as interesting as the 'big' life-changing events. As the theme of the novel was about the exploration of how well we really know those around us, the changes flowed into the storyline and didn't affect it at all. After the murder that Lucy witnessed, Ms. Baratz-Logsted slowly draws the reader into the ever-tightening world of bitterness and regrets and danger that surround Lucy and her family and feeds us tidbits of information, making the reader on edge, wondering what is going to happen. I couldn't read it fast enough after that point.
And the plot was amazing! When in my arrogance I thought I had it all figured out, something changed dramatically and I went, what? How did I miss that? Or how did that happen? I was actually taken by surprise several times and I really enjoy an author who can do that to me. I love how the secret tunnel was written into the plot and used as Lucy and Kit's secret rendez-vous as it added mystery to the novel and more secrecy. And we are left with the question at the end of the novel, How well do we really know our mothers? It's a question that will haunt Lucy as she lives out the rest of her life.
I truly enjoyed this latest book by Ms. Baratz-Logsted, but I am not sure if I like the cover pictured here, or the one on the book that I reviewed, better. Other than that, I always look forward to reading anything published by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, as her work is always enjoyable and enticing to read and this one is no exception. The time period came alive for me in this well-researched book and I almost felt like I was there, in the ballroom, in the library, or in the tunnel. It's an amazing gift to have and I certainly appreciate how it was all woven into a very superior plot.