Title: White Bodies
Author: Jane Robins
Published: September 18th 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 3 stars
‘He’s so handsome and clever and romantic. I just wished he hadn’t forced Tilda under the water and held her there so long.’
Callie loves Tilda. She’s her sister, after all. And she’s beautiful and successful.
Tilda loves Felix. He’s her husband. Successful and charismatic, he is also controlling, suspicious and, possibly, dangerous. Still, Tilda loves Felix.
And Callie loves Tilda. Very, very much.
So she’s determined to save her. But the cost could destroy them all…
Sometimes we love too much.
The relationship between two twin sisters is defined by love, obsession and fixation in Jane Robins debut entry in the psychological thriller genre. White Bodies is a dark and unnerving psychological study into the dynamics of twins.
The story begins with Callie, one half of the Farrow twins, who is the quieter more studious sister, diligently working away in a bookstore. Callie’s twin is very different. Tilda is a young woman who seeks and owns the spotlight. She is a successful actress and she is overly flamboyant. Tilda begins to change when she meets and marries a wealthy financier named Felix Nordberg. The once carefree young woman is suppressed by Felix’s controlling behaviour. When Callie notices the shift in her sister’s personality she begins to conduct her own research into the life of the charismatic Felix Nordberg. It is a search that leads into the path of an online support group for victims of controlling spouses. Callie is beginning to tread a dark and dangerous path, with deadly consequences for the twins and Felix.
There has been a lot of buzz about this book on the social media scene. I have seen so many reviews and posts promoting this book that I had to see for myself how it would measure up. I have a liking for psychological thrillers and White Bodies definitely caught my eye. Overall, I found it twisted, dark and most of all creepy story.
Robins takes on the twin relationship dynamic in her debut fiction novel. The twin relationship has always fascinated me and I soon grabbed hold of this novel when discovered it was a story focussed on twin sisters and a crime. The crime aspect of the book tends to float in the background, while the twin relationship really takes front and centre in the novel. I was impressed level of focus Robins places on the intricacies of the relationship between two very different twin sisters in White Bodies. The jealousy, obsession and unique bond between these two women is explored well by Robins. Robins incorporate the themes of domestic violence and mental illness within her novel, which added another layer to this twisted tale.
White Bodies is told solely from Callie, one of the twin sister’s point of view. As a direct result of this single style narration, we get a deep insight into this young woman’s frame of mind, which isn’t pretty or stable at times. Callie’s fixation on her sister and her well being forms the bulk of the novel. Callie’s quest to ‘save’ her sister from her supposedly evil and controlling husband is the driving force of the novel. It takes the reader in all sorts of directions and it is hard to pin point what actually happened to Tilda and Felix’s relationship and ultimately Felix’s welfare. Robins makes the reader work hard and continues to keep them guessing until the end of this eerie ride.
The pace of this novel in the first half is much slower than the second half. As a result, I will admit that my mind wandered off a few times while reading White Bodies, but I seemed to still read it in a short time frame. I did appreciate the time Robins took to build a picture of the three main characters, Callie, Tilda and Felix. This trio were unlikeable, as well as slightly dubious, which left me as a reader little to engage with. When the novel revs up in the second half where it hurtles towards a conclusion, I found myself quite unsettled about the lead character, who became very creepy indeed. With the insertion of flashbacks to the Callie’s past it becomes quite apparent that Callie is one disturbed individual. By combining the past and the present, White Bodies became a matter of who you could trust character wise as the reality of the events of the novel became quite blurred. The final truth delivered in the conclusion to the book seemed somewhat unclear, as well as slightly open.
White Bodies is a psychological thriller that is heavy on the disturbing factor and offers the reader a detailed character emphasis on a strange relationship between twin sisters. It was a little off the mark for me and it didn’t quite meet up to the high expectations I had initially going into this novel. Nevertheless, I will suggest White Bodies should be added to your list if you are a fan of suspense novels.
White Bodies by Jane Robins was published on 18th September 2017 by Harper Collins Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.