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Book Review: Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner

Book Review: Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner

It’s not often that you truly despise a character in a book that you never really meet. Yet, that’s exactly what happens with Leah Patterson, the titular ‘perfect twin’ in Sarah Bonner’s debut novel. The hatred that protagonist Megan feels for her sister is so palpable that within the opening two chapters she’s successfully managed to make readers feel that same level of loathing. And it’s warranted. Megan’s twin is an awful person – something that can also be said for a lot of the characters in this psychological thriller, which is precisely what makes it so tense and unpredictable.

Megan thinks she’s losing her mind. She’s forgetting things on a regular basis, something her husband Chris is all too willing to keep reminding her, and she’s terrified that she’s inherited the same affliction that her mother has. But when she discovers photographs of her estranged twin sister on her husband’s phone, she begins to suspect that not only has her husband been having an affair with the worst person possible, but it’s more than likely he’s been conspiring to make Megan think that she’s going mad too. Leah already has everything – fame, fortune, freedom – and now she’s taken the one thing that Megan thought was hers and hers alone.

Incensed by her sister’s disregard for her marriage, Megan confronts Leah – an argument that turns to murder. The only way Megan can get away with killing her twin is to become her. They’re identical in every way. How hard can it be? At first, Megan relishes slipping into her sister’s expensive, glamorous shoes, but then lockdown hits and suddenly juggling two lives isn’t quite so easy. Stuck at home with a husband she despises, Megan must come up with a way to make sure nobody realises what she’s done. And if she can make Chris rue the day he ever decided to betray her, then that’s an added bonus too…

Out of sight, out of mind. But she will never be out of sight, will she? I see her everywhere I look, reflected in every surface, in every mirror. She will haunt me always. I don’t deserve any less.”

If you’re going into Her Perfect Twin assuming this is going to be standard psychological thriller fare, you’ve underestimated Bonner from the off. This is a novel of constant twists, turns and delicious backstabbing betrayals. The first part of the book focuses on Megan’s unexpected crime, which spirals further and further as she juggles two very different lives. The second part switches seamlessly to Chris’ perspective, and if you thought Leah was a terrible person, she pales in comparison to Chris, whose viewpoint on his wife – and women in general – is so repugnant that you’ll be yearning for his downfall.

There’s a third part of the novel which shifts the focus slightly from Megan and Chris, whilst still revolving around them, and it’s a clever little manoeuvre that allows us to step outside their marriage and see how other people perceive them. Ultimately, Her Perfect Twin is a she-said-he-said novel about the power play in relationships – firstly between sisters, and secondly between a husband and wife. It’s so full of lies, double-crossing and deception that you can’t trust any of the characters – not even Megan, who despite being the original victim in the story, is much more clever than anyone gives her credit for. You might not be able to condone her actions, but you sure can cheer her on.

As a rule, I try to avoid books set during Covid times – it’s been enough to live through the pandemic without having to read about it too – but this is one instance where lockdown actually made a book better. Her Perfect Twin really is a shocking, twisty and suspenseful mind game of a story that revels in blindsiding readers. Just make sure you clear your schedule ahead of time, because once you start reading this, you won’t be able to put it down.

★★★★★

Her Perfect Twin is published by Hodder Studio on 20 January 2022

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