THE OTHER TWIN
MIRA, Jan 2003
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood
Every year Katherine Stone introduces us to another group of the nicest, most likable heroes and heroines anyone could ever want to read about. Last year in STAR LIGHT, STAR BRIGHT some of you will remember the gentle Aztec descendant of kings, Rafe McClure. It would have been difficult to write a more attractive man than Rafe. In THE OTHER TWIN she has focused instead on two lovable, giving women.
Gwen St. James is a successful make-up artist who answers the request of a friend to do a cosmetic make-over: help a dying grandmother feel beautiful. At the hospital she senses an immediate harmony with the patientís doctor, the elegant, weary Paige Forrester, and is disturbed to learn Paige is seriously ill herself. The two women, though they hide themselves deeply from everyone around them, find they can share their emotional wounds with each other.
Gwen, an abandoned and disfigured baby grown into an artist, should have nothing in common with Paige, scientific expert and heiress, whose family name is commemorated on the various improvements donated to the hospital by her widowed mother. Paige was born prematurely when her mother Claire was witness to her fatherís traumatic death. Now Claire is agoraphobic, never leaving her mansion, and still troubled by nightmares. Mother and daughter are unable to understand why they canít feel comfortable with each other, even though Claire mothers and befriends everyone who visits her.
Cole Ransom is a surgeon who lives to repair the most seriously damaged bodies he can find. Jack Logan is a loving father whose daughter had the wrong mother. These are the haunted men who enter the lives of our haunted heroines. Regular readers of Katherine Stone will quickly predict the solution for the troubled Forrester family, but there are plenty of surprises around the entwined stories of Gwen and Paige.
Katherine Stoneís main characters in all her books are generous, kind, loving, brave. We would think they were too good to be true if we werenít feeling their pain, confusion, or joy. The author makes it possible for us to see what is going on under the surface as if we were inside the speakers. This feeling of sharing with them makes them believable even though we may never have met anyone like them. Her people are irresistible company for an afternoonís reading, and friends to revisit.
I must give high praise to Stoneís writing style. Another author who writes on the same principle calls it "describing things as they are instead of how they look." Stone provides us with clear and sensible visuals; but adds metaphors that immerse us in emotion, because they touch the underlying realities of a situation, not the surface. Another technique she has made her own is to repeat important thoughts and phrases exactly, at rhythmic intervals, for emotional impact. Her timing when she does this is impeccable.
The author has several themes that she uses regularly in her books. She always has at least one complex medical subplot, not surprising since she is a physician. Hidden identities and lost pasts form her suspense plotlines. Best of all to my mind is the art: at least one of her characters is always an artist. Stone has a strong artistic feeling and describes the work of her artist characters most movingly. In THE OTHER TWIN, she lavishly offers us a make-up artist and two musicians. Most memorable among her three previous novels, to my mind, is the glass sculptor in ISLAND OF DREAMS, and during this time period she also created with exceptional understanding an architect, a writer, and a maker of mosaics. Clearly this author had two career destinies, artist and physician. She has managed to combine them, very much to our benefit. Katherine Stone is an automatic buy for me.
Jan 2003 Review Originally Published on WOR
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