Size Doesn’t Matter (178): The Third Twin; The Address

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (178): The Third Twin; The AddressThe Third Twin by Ken Follett
Narrator: January LaVoy
Length: 15 hrs, 1 min
Published by Penguin Audio on July 18, 2017
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

The study of twins and the genetics of aggression totally consumes research scientist Jeannie Ferrami. An accomplished and headstrong researcher, Jeannie has developed a sophisticated software program to identify identical twins reared apart. But Jeannie's breakthrough project is threatened by the appearance of a sudden impossibility--identical twins born weeks apart to different mothers at separate locations. When Jeannie's research assistant, Lisa, is raped, Steve Logan, a young law student who is one of Jeannie's research subjects, is identified in a police lineup as Lisa's attacker. Logan's genetic tests reveal no violent behavior patterns. Then Jeannie stumbles upon the beginnings of a stunning revelation. Logan is unaware of the existence of a criminal twin brother in jail. Jeannie is convinced of Steve's innocence, yet her judgment may be clouded by her growing emotional attachment to him. By now Jeannie's problems are mounting. Berrington Jones, Jeannie's arrogant and intimidating boss, is a world-renowned authority on biotechnical engineering. He and his partners are involved in devious but lucrative negotiations to sell Genetco, their biogenetic research company. Jeannie's research poses a major threat to their impending millions. Jones arranges to have Jeannie fired.
Stunned and feeling helpless, Jeannie doesn't understand why this has happened to her. With Steve and his brother in jail, who is committing these sex crimes? While acting on a hunch that might solve the mystery surrounding Steve and his brother's birth, Jeannie is violently attacked by yet another twin who looks exactly like Steve. Determined to protect her research program and convinced her former boss has something important to hide, a terrified Jeannie has no other choice but to find out why Jones and his partners will stop at nothing to discredit her work.

When I was in high school, I really loved Ken Follett’s books. I read a whole bunch of them, and The Third Twin was one of my personal favorites. When it popped up in the PRH audiobook reviewer email, since it’s only just getting an audiobook, I decided the time to reread had come. As expected, The Third Twin was nowhere near as good as I remembered, but it wasn’t awful, so I guess this is a win?

For a book written in the late nineties by a white male author about rape culture, The Third Twin‘s remarkably okay. It gets a bit preachy and overt with its messages, but Follett does get the messages across for the most part. Racism and sexism are clearly addressed, though of course the main characters are all white. The most problematic element for me was that Jeannie refused to believe her friend when she asserted that Steve was the man who raped her; Jeannie disagreed because of his psychological profile but that wasn’t enough without further evidence. There’s been much better stuff written on rape culture since, but, given the era it appeared in, I was surprised it wasn’t a complete offensive mess.

I also give Follett credit for being somewhat decent at writing women. There’s definitely some creepy sexualization, but he does avoid turning them all into MPDGs and they do have varied interests. Again, my feelings are mixed here, and I could have done without the constant reminders about how incredibly hot Jeannie is, but it wasn’t totally atrocious. In high school, I very much shipped Jeannie and Steve, but as an adult I’m seriously puzzled by it. Apparently as a kid, I was a lot more trusting or something.  Or maybe I was just really hard up for good ships. *shrug*

The best/worst part of The Third Twin is how hilariously dated it is. There’s a lot of explanation of the internet, floppy disks, and praise of Jeannie’s program that can scan basic data. This is an excellent example of why authors don’t often write books that are on the cutting edge of technology. The nature versus nurture idea is an interesting one, and Follett conveys a concept for readers who aren’t especially educated. If you’re more knowledgeable in this arena, there’s a lot of lecturing.

Plot-wise, another bit of hilarity is that the big twist is given away in the title. Maybe they did that so that it would be more acceptable that Jeannie doesn’t believe her friend? Because the readers all know that there’s a third twin who is most likely the rapist? Who the fuck knows tbh, but I’ll be over here laughing about the title for ages.

I will not be reading The Third Twin again. Three stars is over-generous, but LaVoy did a nice job with her narration and I’m adding in half a nostalgia point. Also, it was better than I was expecting, which makes me feel kindly disposed to it. However, I wouldn’t really recommend picking this one up; there are better, more current books on these subjects.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (178): The Third Twin; The AddressThe Address by Fiona Davis
Narrator: Brittany Pressley, Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 11 hrs, 42 mins
Published by Penguin Audio on August 1, 2017
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-stars

Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota, New York City's most famous residence.

After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she'd make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility--no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one's station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey's grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won't see a dime of the Camden family's substantial estate. Instead, her -cousin- Melinda--Camden's biological great-granddaughter--will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda's vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell's Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages--for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City--and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side's gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich--and often tragic--as The Dakota's can't hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden--and the woman who killed him--on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives --and lies--of the beating hearts within.

Lately, I read a couple of Beatriz Williams’ novels, so I apologize in advance for being unable to review this without comparing these two authors. Using dual timelines, The Address centers on a fashionable apartment building in New York, and there’s plenty of romance, scandal, and mystery to satisfy.

The reason I mention Williams is that Davis’ basic set up will be very familiar for anyone who has read Williams. The dual timeline set up is a shared feature, and the sort of characters and romance tropes are also very familiar. The modern timeline reminds me somewhat of The Wicked City. The difference lies in the treatment, and The Address leans a bit more to the historical and a bit less to the romantic melodrama side. That said, expect drama.

Of the two timelines, I preferred the modern one, because that has a cute ship, though admittedly there’s not a big focus on it. Bailey’s a recovering alcoholic who lost her job when she got drunk and insulted a client. Out of rehab with no clue what to do, Bailey’s thrown a bone by her (sort of) cousin Melinda; she can stay with Melinda and take over the renovation project of the old family apartment in the Dakota.

Though I preferred Bailey’s timeline, I did still really like Sara’s. There’s a nice balance between the two, and they weave together nicely. Mostly, it’s one of those cases where you know enough about the past timeline to know not to get too invested. However, I was thoroughly entertained all the way through, and I enjoyed the dramatic conclusion. It’s one of those books where it’s really satisfying to get people get what’s coming to them.

Basically, if you like dual timeline historicals with some mystery and romance, check out The Address.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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