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A Dark Dividing by [Rayne, Sarah]
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A Dark Dividing Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Rayne (pseudonym for "a well-known British author") draws readers into four creepy stories in this hefty suspense thriller. Journalist Harry Fitzglen is unimpressed when he's sent to profile a new London artist named Simone Anderson. When Harry begins digging into Simone's past, however, he discovers that her twin sister, with whom she once was conjoined, mysteriously vanished years ago. As Harry's interest in Simone grows, the story branches into several separate tales: in addition to Harry's present-day investigation, there is the story of another set of conjoined twins, Viola and Sorrel Quinton, born in London 80 years earlier; Simone's own history with her twin, Sonia, and her mother, Melissa, dating to the 1980s; and the parallel plot of a novel that Harry uncovers during his research, The Ivory Gate, published in the 1900s. Rayne writes in a semiformal style that evokes turn-of-the-last-century England and lends the novel an appropriately gothic atmosphere. Well-drawn characters reveal themselves through thoughts and actions more than dialogue, as Rayne favors extensive narration over banter. Still, Rayne has crafted a memorable novel with the right mix of suspense, horror and emotion. Amazingly, she leaves no loose ends. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"'She has a crisp and intelligent style, and a real way with tension' MO HAYDER 'Clever and atmospheric... a compelling read' Good Book Guide 'When you get halfway through, you won't be able to stop... The varied cast of characters are so well-drawn that they get under your skin long before you reach the grippig climax' Big Issue 'Equal parts Daphne du Maurier, Josephine Tey and Ruth Rendell, Rayne possesses superb storytelling skills' US Mystery Guild 'If your taste runs to psychological thrillers with complicated and riveting plotlines, you will love Sarah Rayne... Fast-moving action with unpredictable twists' Sussex Times"

Product Details

  • File Size: 1066 KB
  • Print Length: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (April 1, 2010)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2010
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0066UL3YK
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #700,004 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Unknown Binding
This is the second book I've read of Sarah Rayne's and I'm addicted! She writes in way that reveals a mystery in both the past and present, both of which are somehow linked and culminating into a nail biting climax. She also reveals many facts through the different characters' viewpoints that will keep you guessing. Her characters in this book are all interwined even though there is a 100 year gap in between them. The parallels and links are that there are 2 sets of conjoined twins, the two mothers who were both not in love with their husbands and an eerie house called Mortmain. When you start this book be prepared to set aside some time as the characters are so captivating and interesting that you just have to keep reading on to find out what happens. As in the Tower of Silence, the book does feature a mentally unbalanced character or two, and knowing their motives will keep you on the edge of your seat! I'm still thinking about the chartacters and storyline and I finished the book a few days ago.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
What are the connections between two sets of conjoined ("Siamese") twins born eighty years apart and a ramshackle onetime workhouse named Mortmain (Dead [Man's} Hand)? These are the questions that down-and-out reporter Harry McGlen ends up answering after his editor assigns him to do a story on the enigmatic photographer Simone Marriot (née Alexander).

In this elegant and atmospheric thriller, Sarah Rayne shifts effortlessly among multiple viewpoints (the mothers of both sets of twins, Harry, and Simone, among others) without ever losing the thread of her complicated story, and keeps the reader turning the pages until the satisfying ending, which is the most difficult trick of all, since I find that books that start out with promising premises such as this one often fall flat at the end.

If you enjoy this book I would also recommend Thomas Cook and Robbert Goddard, who write a similar type of fiction - suspense tinged with a nostalgic sadness and often with an all too natural (as opposed to supernatural) horror.
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Format: Unknown Binding
At the turn of the century, Charlotte Quinton gave birth to conjoined twins, Viola and Sorrel. But before society had the opportunity to ridicule the `freaks', they passed on. Eighty years later, another set of conjoined twins were born to Melissa Anderson, whose husband was willing to exploit them for the sake of his political campaign. In order to escape the clutches of Joe Anderson, Charlotte runs with the twins to a remote part of Norfolk. The events that follow will finally lead the characters in the book to a dilapidated mansion built in the 1700s called Mortmain - Dead Man's Hands. It is the connection that ultimately binds them all. Sarah Rayne has created a dark and chilling atmosphere in this gripping psychological suspenseful novel. Author writes fluidly with titillating drama that will keep your hands attached to the book like magnet, ready to devour the pages when opportunity arises. I am glad I went with my instincts to read the book as it fulfilled its promise of a terrific tale full of madness and mayhem. Days after i have turned the last page, Charlotte, FLoy, Edward, Viola, Sorrel,Roz/Rosie, Melissa, Joe, Simone and Sonia are still lurking in the corners of my mind. Please ensure that you have tossed aside all your other obligations and responsibilities before you start this piece because when you are halfway through, you will not be able to stop...for anything. -Suhainah Wahiduddin -
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read some reviews of this and must say I'm apparently not one for the "English" style of writing. It sounds to me like it's supposed to be more intellectual - is that it ? Well I'd have to say that I want a good story written in such a way that it enhances that story, not diminishes it. I found the narration unnerving. For instance the author writes one sided conversations. As an example (not exact quote): As they were having tea - of course I'd like another cup of tea. Why Yes, a sugar would do just fine. No I won't be having any crumpets... Always one sided conversations AND there were alot of these at the start. Half way through the book things pick up and it gets more enjoyable...but one must wade through that first half...

As for the story - it's brilliant. Siamese Twins of the 1800's vs the more acceptable name of the 1900's, Conjoined Twins, Mothers, Fathers, Lovers along with deaths, deceit, cruelty and secrets all centered around Mortmain House. As for characters - there is Roz/Rosamund/Rosy vs the world. Viola and Sorrel vs Simone and Sonia. Mel, Edward, (and a host of others) all stripped of their secrets by Harry, who is in search of a story and discovers hidden truths.

I thought there were alot of strong characters intertwined in the weak writing. It was difficult to keep the generations and the tales separated. There were a few different scenes taking place and it muddied the experience for this reader. All in all, it's worth the read but know that you should take your time. Don't go into A DARK DIVIDING thinking it's going to be a fast one - it's not.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel skillfully weaves together the fates of past and present sets of conjoined twins. It's not as relentlessly frightening as the jacket blurbs might lead you to believe, but it does have enough eerie, taut passages to qualify it as a thriller in the neo-Gothic tradition.

I'm not sure that you can trust this book to give you an accurate picture of conditions in society around 1900. Mortmain, the wretched workhouse/orphanage that is depicted as still operating in full swing in the early 1900's, would, in actuality, probably have been a thing of the past by then. Social reforms inaugurated in the late 1800's had gathered momentum and would have generally precluded the existence of Mortmain in all its dank and deadly horror at that turn-of-the-century. The Mortmain as described here belongs to a somewhat earlier, Dickensian period. However, the author had to place it in 1900 in order to make her characters' connections work.

Also, there's something a little unconvincing about Lady Charlotte Quinton's early 1900's diary whose entries are threaded throughout the story, making parallels with the frightening, oppressive dilemmas of the more modern characters. In some ways, Lady Charlotte sounds too modern, too of-a-piece with her late 1900's counterpart. In other ways, she also seems to be harkening back to a more antique time - in the way her lover addressers her, in the types of proprieties that corset her.

These are quibbles though. You presumably won't be reading this book as a historical reference. You'll read it for a chilling tale, and it delivers on that score:

"But each time she tried to get free the quicksands pulled her deeper, slopping and squelching as if the marsh were smacking its slabby lips over this unexpected morsel.
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