From the Bookshelf: A Dark Dividing

While on holiday, I finished reading A Dark Dividing by Sarah Rayne.


I'm not gonna lie to you - this book is creepy and weird.  I'm not necessarily against those things, but the people in this story are really not right.  The most normal of the characters are the two sets of conjoined twins born 80 years apart that serve as the bookend points for this work.

I read another book by this author that combines historical mystery with historical fiction and some interesting intertwined story lines.  I really enjoyed that book (Ghost Song), which was just the right blend of spookiness and intrigue that I kept turning the pages.  I wanted to like the concept of this book - I just couldn't get there.

The basic storyline is follows a mystery surrounding a pair of conjoined twins born at the turn of the century, whose story unfolds in bits and pieces throughout the book from diary excerpts from their mother, and another set of twins, born 25 years or so ago, one of whom supposedly died very young.  The remaining twin is an artist/photographer who is unaware she ever had a twin.  At the center of the story is a 19th century workhouse, Mortmain, and a novel written about a young girl who is stolen from the workhouse and sold into child prostitution.  Storylines begin to cross as the book unfolds, and a link between the pairs of twins becomes evident as these storylines eventually meet.  In between all of that, you have a psychotic nurse, the other (bitter and slightly "off) second twin of the more contemporary set, a freak show, child prostitution and a hanging.

A disappointment for me for this one.  I was hoping for more of the good and less of the not-good.

Next up, The Kindness of Strangers, Mike McIntyre's account of hitchhiking across America in 1994 with not a penny in his pocket.


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