What is the truth?
And how do you recognise it when you hear it?
Jenny and Pippa are twins. Like many twins, they often know what the other is thinking. They complete each other. When Pippa disappears Jenny is left to face the world alone, as she tries to find out what happened to her ‘other half.’ But the truth, for Jenny, can be a slippery thing.
As an English teacher, I was intrigued by the premise of a book featuring an English teacher too. Add that to the fact that I love books with twins in – probably blaming Sweet Valley High for that – and I absolutely loved the last Shelan Rodger book I read, and it’s safe to say that I was really looking forward to Twin Truths…
This book grabbed me and pulled me right into the story. I was really intrigued by the twin structure of the book: that we get to hear about events from both Jenny and her twin sister Pippa’s perspective and this really added to the story for me. Their childhood has had a massive impact on the way that they have developed as people and the childhood damage has affected them both very differently – we see that even though they are twins, they have developed very different coping mechanisms.
We see one sister losing herself in studying and pursuing a solitary academic pathway whereas her twin chooses to lose herself more hedonistically, seeking excitement and dangerous pastimes, in order to escape from the hurt which she has been exposed to.
Both sisters have very distinct voices which really emphasises the way that our early experiences can have hugely different effects on how we develop as adults. Even though Twin Truths deals with very challenging issues, they never threaten to dominate the story and the sisters feel very much like real people – rather than mechanisms to explore an issue – which I’ve often found in novels which want to look at the way we respond to trauma or tragedy.
Shelan Rodger is an excellent writer – it’s hard to talk about this novel without spoilers, so I’ll just need to tell you that you must read it for yourself. You will be intrigued by Jenny’s life in Argentina and want to read on and find out exactly what has led to Pippa’s vanishing and how Jenny will deal with this situation. Pippa’s ‘half’ of the novel goes a long way towards making us understand Jenny and the way she reacts to events as they unfold.
I really liked the way that Twin Truths asks us to look at events from these ‘twin’ perspectives and re-see them, once we have a greater understanding of everything that the girls have been through in order for us to reevaluate our understanding of what ‘the truth’ actually is.
This isn’t just a straightforward thriller or mystery. Twin Truths goes a little deeper than that and asks us to think about the way that our personalities evolve through, because of and despite our experiences and who we can trust with our truths. The third part of the novel makes us rethink again everything that we’ve discovered in the first two sections and will leave you turning the pages, desperate to find out exactly how this fantastic read will end.
Anyone interested in family relationships, psychology and human emotions will love Shelan Rodger’s new novel. I loved Yellow Room and had really high hopes for Twin Truths and I’m delighted to say that I was definitely not disappointed. Even though this book touched on dark and difficult subject matters at times, it was dealt with very sensitively and never felt exploitative or sensational in the slightest.
Twin Truths was a book that I know I’ll be recommending to lots of readers as I was totally immersed in its characters, its pace and the way it really made me think. I can’t wait to see what Shelan Rodger does next. The idea that the opposite of truth isn’t necessarily a lie is a very intriguing one and I think that Twin Truths woud make an excellent Book Group read as it would be sure to provoke lots and lots of discussion…
Twin Truths was published by Dome Press on the 15th March 2018.
Many thanks to lovely Emily from Dome Press for inviting me to join this blog tour and for my copy of the book for this review.
Writer on the Shelf
Shelan’s life is a patchwork of different cultures. Born in Nigeria, she grew up among the Tiwi, an aboriginal community in Australia, and moved to England at the age of eleven. After graduating in Modern Languages from Oxford, she travelled to Argentina, where she spent nine years teaching and setting up a language school. Another chapter in England was followed by six years in Kenya, where she got involved in learning and development, with an emphasis on anti-discrimination. She now lives in Spain, working in international education – and writing.