Abandoned at birth, twin teen sisters Giselle and Ingrid discover that they’ve inherited a castle in the Orkneys from their father, Victor.
For giddy Giselle, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to throw a huge party, with the likes of Lord Byron and the Shelleys on the guest list. For the more studious Ingrid, her father’s old journals—and the dusty science lab hidden underground—provide not only exciting insights into her father’s work, but also the tools with which to outfit Walter, the moody and disabled ex-soldier to whom she’s given her heart, with a new arm and leg. Weyn plays this unlikely scenario as gothic romance. She folds in stilted dialogue (“But we are entirely different in personality and presentation”), chapters written as alternating journal entries, and a supporting cast of historical figures and likely young men with varied agendas. There is also a sudden spate of local murders and occasional grisly details, such as a decayed but strangely familiar woman’s head that washes ashore. In the climactic flurry of revelations, it turns out that one sister is a decidedly unreliable narrator.
This thriller is saddled with such a wildly contorted plot that readers may be more inclined to snort than sigh. (afterword) (Gothic romance. 11-14)