“THE OTHER TWIN” by Lesley Hayes

Subtle, intricate, perceptive, deadly and beautifully written, this is “a psychological mystery with the notion of true love at its heart,” The Other Twin “explores the noxious legacy of suspicion, hatred, revenge, and duplicity – and asks of the reader: just who can you trust?”

For me, the most important thing about any book is the quality of the writing, and I read this one in the sure and certain knowledge that the writing would be superb. This is the fifth book written by Lesley Hayes that I have read and reviewed, and I know what to expect. She is an immensely skilful writer on so many levels, and were there any justice in the publishing world, her place in the pantheon of English Literature would already be assured. Who can you trust? Well in my humble opinion, you can trust Lesley Hayes as a writer and I hope you can trust me as a reader/reviewer.

A few examples from the hundreds I noted to illustrate the quality of writing to which I refer. Verity’s mother “trotted out her own personal mythology with shamelessly monotonous regularity.” “This was the year Ned’s eight-year-old son had been asked to leave his private school under a gloomy cumulus of disgrace.” “After Meriel was born, however, it was one long furrow of misery, every more profoundly ploughed.” “Straight blond hair fell in a fringe over pale blue eyes that stared with deceptive innocence at a world he planned to manipulate and rule.” “Verity, who thanks to Ned’s skilful avoidance tactics had yet to meet Callum, nodded with the mistaken confidence of youth.” “Verity’s mother persisted with sniffing the malodorous trail of hidden skeletons.” “Her mother wasn’t a fan of the human race, and managed to overlook the fact that she was part of it.”

This book, like all her others, is a carefully analytical exploration of human behaviour, with particular emphasis on what has hurt and belittled so many of us in childhood and how that affects the way we interact with others as adults: most particularly the lies, the half-truths, the yearnings and the disappointments, the rivalries and jealousies that so affect our behaviour towards, and opinion of, others. It is about caring and needing, and living with suffering, about trying and failing to please and to win approval, about trust and betrayal: the endless, manoeuvring maze of human interactions through which we all do our best to find our way.

There is no more fascinating subject, given that we are all fully paid-up life-members of the human race, and Lesley Hayes is especially skilful at depicting scenarios that we can all relate to and recognise. As always when I review one of her books, my recommendation – for whatever you may decide it is worth – is without reservation.