Release Date: January 8, 2019
My Rating: 🍪🍪.5
I honestly don’t feel like I have much to say about this book. It was fine. Definitely not a ‘thriller.’ I guess I would bill it a mystery, and if I’d been aware of the discrepancy beforehand, I probably would not have picked it up.
The story is split between two time periods. The earlier, follows the life of Laura, who arrives at Summerbourne estate to be an au pair for Edwin. His parents, Ruth and Dominic, also live at the grand house. Ruth learns that Edwin’s twin brother Theo died on the cliffs behind the house. The later portion of the book chronicles Seraphine’s journey to discover her true identity. Seraphine, along with her twin brother Danny, are the younger siblings of Edwin, who are not yet born during the majority of Laura’s storyline.
I think my favorite part of this book was the description of setting. I could perfectly visualize the grandeur of Summerbourne, with the ocean spreading out beyond it, and it made for a satisfying summer read.
I definitely enjoyed Laura’s part of this story the most. It was interesting to watch her come to terms with her life at Summerbourne, and struggle with her unreciprocated romantic feelings for Alex, a close family friend of Dominic and Ruth’s. It is clear from the start that there is some form of confused and mixed up identity going on, and that coupled with the sinister tale that twins never survive at Summerbourne, causes Ruth’s pregnancy to draw attention. Ruth appears to be struggling with some sort of instability, possibly triggered by the death of Theo, and those around her begin to fear for her unborn child. The back of the estate hosts cliffs that overlook the sea, and become, in essence, their own character. Everything can be traced back to the danger of the cliffs, which begs the question of why they stay at a home so near to them. I felt like I read the same paragraph about different people running off to the cliffs about five different times.
Meanwhile, Seraphine and the people she goes to for insight into her past begin to receive threatening messages of various forms, telling them not to keep investigating. This whole section seemed like a clichéd mystery plot to me, and I had trouble not just skimming. I may have missed something, but I was also unsure as to why she started the entire investigation in the first place. Her father died in a sudden accident, but I don’t know why this would trigger her to question her identity so furiously.
I didn’t feel like there was any big reveal, or strong conclusion to this novel. We don’t get a defined answer as to who’s responsible for much of anything, or a lot of motive for what we do know. Rous concludes the story with everyone getting together for what is expected to be a trepidatious family reunion, which was unbelievable, and also expected.