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A Dark Dividing (2005)

by Sarah Rayne

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2075130,774 (3.88)5
'Something strange happened within that family, Harry. People died and people disappeared, and although most of us suspected something odd had occurred, no one ever got at the truth.' At first, journalist Harry Fizglen is sceptical when his editor asks him to investigate the background of Simone Anderson, a new Bloomsbury artist. But once he's met the enigmatic Simone, Harry is intrigued. Just what did happen to Simone's twin sister who disappeared without trace several years before? And what is the Anderson sisters' connection to another set of twin girls, Viola and Sorrel Quinton, born in London on 1st January 1900? All Harry's lines of enquiry seem to lead to the small Shropshire village of Weston Fferna and the imposing ruin of Mortmain House, standing grim and forbidding on the Welsh borders. As Harry delves into the violent and terrible history of Mortmain, in an attempt to uncover what happened to Simone and Sonia, and, one hundred years before them, to Viola and Sorrel Quinton, he finds himself drawn into a number of interlocking mysteries, each one more puzzling - and sinister - than the last.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
Well, Charlotte? Which gate are you going to walk through? The gleaming ivory one, where the hopes eventually turn to scorn and where delusions rule? Or the gates of burnished horn where the dreams are true and real?

Charlotte is such a vibrant character that everyone else in the book pales in comparison. Her diary entries are the best bit of this book, and the actions and motivation of the characters in the early 20th century storyline make sense, unlike every single thing that Mel did. Just because you lied to the press to get journalists off your track does not mean that you can't ring the police when you are being stalked and harassed by a crazy person! It is not illegal to lie to journalists! And you are paranoid enough about the stalker to change your identity and keep on the move, but somehow not suspicious at all about a fatal house fire? No, apparently it still didn't cross your mind to contact the police, and there is no mention of the police or any of Isobel's family and friends asking questions about the identity of the baby that died with her. The plot of the late 20th century storyline has as many holes in it as a piece of lace.

By the halfway point I had guessed almost everything that happened to both sets of twins. The only thing I didn't guess was how Roz was connected to Mortmain. ( )
  isabelx | Jul 24, 2014 |
'A Dark Dividing' is truly a dark tale about two sets of twins divided by time. Their stories cross paths and leave a trail of sinister memories, which sometimes feel hard to read.
We read diary entries from the nineteen hundreds and chapters from the present day. No one has a happy life and sometimes it is hard to see how things will end well. It is fitting that not everything is tied up neatly, as that would feel trite. However, the denouement does bring some sense of redemption, which is a relief after following the torturous journey of both sets of twins. ( )
  Hemmie | May 21, 2013 |
A cheerfully implausible (Sarah Rayne likes to strain coincidence until it begs for mercy) psychological thriller concerning two sets of conjoined twins born a century apart. Entertaining. ( )
  phoebesmum | Jul 14, 2011 |
Another of my favourite authors, Sarah Rayne has a unique style of writing that is evident in every book I've read so far (four in total). I'm drawn to the way in which she always includes an old, menacing, scary building to feature in the centre of each of her novels. The building is always creepy and contains a lot of history, pain and secrets from the past. Terrific concept that always draws me in.

Secondly, her writing style always flicks between the past and the present, and often 3 different periods, as in this book 'Dark Dividing'. There's always a number of shocking secrets revealed throughout the plot and each book builds to a climax revealing how all of the characters are connected in some way.

I love this formula, however it does make her books instantly familiar on the one hand and a little predictable on the other. I'd love to see her take a risk and write in a different style, but perhaps I'm yet to find and read these books, given she's written 20 in her writing career so far.

Anyway, 'Dark Dividing' followed the format mentioned above and this time was about conjoined twins. The creepy building was Mortmain House, which was suitably scary. Historically it was used as a workhouse for men and women to live who were so poor they would otherwise die of starvation. The work was incredibly gruelling and the conditions horrendous. Children abandoned at birth or born to families to poor to care for them ended up here and suffered terrible treatment.

I don't want to spoil the story about the conjoined twins born 100 years apart and how they're connected, however I thoroughly enjoyed the story line and was gripped by the some of the characters.

I must admit that in previous book reviews, I think I claimed Sarah Rayne was an Australian author, however after recently visiting her website, I found out I've been wrong all this time!! She's from the UK!

In summary, this is another great psychological thriller from a great author. ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Dec 9, 2010 |
Dark and disturbing. This is certainly not to be read if you are feeling down as it will not help you to a happy state of mind.
It concerns two sets of conjoined twins,one set living in the 1900's and the other in the present day,As with all of Sarah Rayne's other books,a building is at the centre of the story,and this one is no exception. Mortmain House (Dead Hand) used to be a Orphanage and Workhouse where many cruel and inhuman acts were perpetrated mainly upon the children. In the centre of the building is a deep well (a favorite device of Ms Rayne) and this is crucial to this tale.
If you favor the macabre in your reading,then this is for you,run quickly to your nearest bookshop and get hold of a copy without delay. If however you are of a nervous disposition,do not go within a mile of it. You have been warned. ( )
1 vote devenish | Sep 20, 2010 |
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Writing an article on a newly opened art gallery in Bloomsbury was the very last kind of commission that Harry Fitzglen wanted.
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'Something strange happened within that family, Harry. People died and people disappeared, and although most of us suspected something odd had occurred, no one ever got at the truth.' At first, journalist Harry Fizglen is sceptical when his editor asks him to investigate the background of Simone Anderson, a new Bloomsbury artist. But once he's met the enigmatic Simone, Harry is intrigued. Just what did happen to Simone's twin sister who disappeared without trace several years before? And what is the Anderson sisters' connection to another set of twin girls, Viola and Sorrel Quinton, born in London on 1st January 1900? All Harry's lines of enquiry seem to lead to the small Shropshire village of Weston Fferna and the imposing ruin of Mortmain House, standing grim and forbidding on the Welsh borders. As Harry delves into the violent and terrible history of Mortmain, in an attempt to uncover what happened to Simone and Sonia, and, one hundred years before them, to Viola and Sorrel Quinton, he finds himself drawn into a number of interlocking mysteries, each one more puzzling - and sinister - than the last.

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