I stood between them looking from one to the other: the one who was dressed and coiffed in a way that showed she had every advantage in the world – my beautiful gorgeous mother – and her mirror image, but dressed and coiffed far differently. I can say with near certainty that I am the only child in the world who can claim she was there the first time her mother met her twin.
My mother fainted dead away (p 7).
Lucy Sexton is stunned when her mother’s identical twin sister shows up at the family’s front door, unknown and unannounced, underfed and drabby dressed. Separated at birth, the two sisters have had dramatically different upbringings-and have never known of the other’s existence.
The unwanted children of a penniless maid, Helen was raised in an orphanage, or more properly, a workhouse while Aliese was adopted by a wealthy family and eventually married to a wealthy man.
Aliese, with her husband’s leave, determines to better her sister. New gowns are ordered, a tutor is hired and manners are taught. Before long, Helen becomes indistinguishable from her sister, Aliese. And Lucy has grown to love her new Aunt.
But is it just Lucy’s imagination or does Aunt Helen seem to delight in being mistaken for her sister… especially where Lucy’s father is concerned?
Then one day, Lucy is horrified to stumble upon the scene of a brutal murder in her own house. Who is behind the slaying and who has been left behind?
I tore through this book with great eagerness, delighting in the prose and hooked by the differing and vibrant characters. Lucy, our narrator, fulfills not just that role but plays a crucial part in the game.
I thought it interesting that there was very little inclusion of the servants or interactions with the servants (none are named) but upon reflection, Lucy and her family do not think of servants, never marking their presence, so why should they be included?
I love the final cover (the one on my ARC is very different and much less appealing) but I am not fond of the title. While it is appropriate, the awkwardness of it sits heavy on the tongue.
Read another review at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy.