The Masterpiecers by Olivia Wildenstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
**** 4 Cranky Stars ****
I picked this book up one night and pretty much finished it in one sitting. Told at a breakneck pace and in dual points of view by twins Ivy and Aster Redd, The Masterpiecers is a compelling read, which had me turning pages well into the night.
Ivy and Aster are both in captivity, but for very different reasons. Aster is in prison for murder and Ivy has won a place in a reality TV show for artists.
Their mother has been committed to a mental institution and both sisters had very different experiences with her. Ivy was cherished. Aster was not.
As twins, they share a special bond. Both try to protect one another in their own way, but separation stretches the trust issues, especially with the murder and mystery of Toby Mann between them.
Aster killed Toby Mann, a wanted criminal and with links to the mafia. She claims it was self-defense, but evidence points to something sinister.
As the pressure goes on in the media, at the reality tv show, prison, and the revelation of secrets, both sisters begin to question the other's involvement and motivation. It's only in the separation that they begin to clearly see one another and old wounds between the two give notice.
If you want to find out what happens and who did it (well, actually, we already know 'who did it'. It's more of a 'why did it' and 'who was involved'), you'll have to read like I do.
This isn't a perfect book. It's a pretty simple premise, but Wildenstein makes the most of it. Her dual points of view are flawless. She never repeats the narrative or lets it turn in on itself. She keeps pushing the storyline with two characters who are linked to the core, but very different, and I couldn't stop reading until I found out what happened.
Wildenstein's voice is unique. She has the ability to write close, first person point of view, without this reader feeling 'swamped' by detail or it being overcooked. It was like reading disjointed thoughts - in the best possible way - which told me more about the characters than pages and pages of laborious exposition.
Some of her character's insights and pithy comments made me laugh out loud and just for a moment, when I forgot that the subject matter of the book was very serious (a dead man with links to the mafia, a girl in prison and one blocked off from the outside world), Wildenstein reminded me.
I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. All in all this was a good read and recommended by this Crankster.
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