In A Dark Dividing, Sarah Rayne has expertly woven a frighteningly dark tale that should make even the most valiant readers recoil in horror. This is my first novel by Rayne (who is already a highly accomplished writer with many great works to her credit) and I am already in love with her clever narrative structuring. She has such an impeccable way of enticing a reader to turn the pages ceaselessly until the final written word.
Journalist Harry Fitzglen is not thrilled when his editor Clifford Markovitch assigns him to cover the opening of a new art gallery. But Harry is there for more than just reviewing the featured work at the gallery. His editor wants him to dig into the past of Simone Anderson, the talented photographer whose compelling works are on display. Harry learns that Simone had a twin sister, Sonia, who had disappeared mysteriously years ago. No one quite knows what happened to her.
There is more to the story as a dark and twisted connection between the Anderson twins and another pair of twins – Viola and Sorrel – born almost a century ago comes to the picture. Then there is the ruined mansion located at the Welsh border called the Mortmain House. What does this godforsaken place has to do with these two sets of twins divided by time and space?
Three different storylines overlap in a galloping narrative. Simone hears voices of a little girl in her head and Harry tries to make connections that could lead him to solve the eerie mystery. Simone and Sonia’s mother Melissa Anderson has known the tragic fact that her daughters are conjoined twins early in her pregnancy and when she learns – to her horror – that her husband wants to use the misfortune of the twins to his political gain, Melissa runs away to protect her daughters.
Through the pages of Charlotte Quinton’s diary written almost a century ago, keeping records of the events leading to and after the birth of her conjoined twin daughters Viola and Sorrel, we learn that she loses her daughters during birth. We also learn that both women share a common dislike to their respective husbands. In Charlotte’s case there was even a lover before her marriage – Philip Fleury, passionately known to her as Floy. The century-old dark dividing between the two sets of twins comes to a terrifying convergence that will leave your spine tingling.
Rayne’s A Dark Dividing is most certainly the type of book that you can’t let go of until you have read it all. I found myself reading deep into the night, in spite of it. The suspense keeps piling up and, in almost equal rhythm, the goosebumps on your arms until you arrive at the bone-chilling climax.
A book that should be devoured in hungry chunks, a terror-filled psychological thriller doesn’t get any horrifying than this. You will never see any of it coming. Clear your schedules and find some quite time for yourself and be prepared to be horrified and amazed at the same time in what awaits within the pages of A Dark Dividing. A real winner!
Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com