Culture Street

Books

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

On January 22, 2016

besidemyselfBy Sophia Whitfield

Ann Morgan’s gripping debut novel will have you hooked from the start. The psychological drama unfolds, following identical twins as they reach adolescence and then adulthood.

At age six Helen and Ellie are almost impossible to tell apart. Physically they are identical but Helen is a little sharper, Ellie a little slower. Ellie’s learning difficulties and her behavioural issues are put down to her ‘difficult birth’.

When their mother brings Horace home to take the place of their father, Helen and Ellie decide to swap places. Helen had always been popular at school and favoured by their mother. Ellie relishes every moment of being Helen. So much so that she refuses to swap back leaving Helen trapped in her sister’s life, alienated and shunned by those around her.

Unable to convince her family of the truth, Ellie struggles with mental health issues. Her only solace is art and escape from the family that failed her.

Twenty-four years later a phone call draws Ellie back into family life. The sister she hasn’t seen for years, her sister’s family and her dysfunctional mother all threaten to destabilise her.

Morgan’s novel is intricately plotted with twists and turns along the way. Its fascinating premise makes for compulsive reading. You can buy the book here.

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