The quiet, unassuming Beth is a secretary in a government research lab, and while working late one night she accidently gets involved in a scientific experiment with unexpected results. Now there are two Beths – each with a full set of memories and each wanting her life back. Of course the government can’t afford for its secret to be out and so one of the Beths has to go – but which one?
The author does a wonderful job of giving each Beth her own “personality”, despite them being the same people. At the point of separation they are both naively trusting – while the original Beth has no idea of what has happened, she blindly follows instructions and lets everybody control her life until boyfriend Rob oversteps the mark and she starts to break out of the mould. Meanwhile Beth Two is heartbreakingly resigned to her fate, knowing full well that she is not the “real” Beth and therefore not entitled to reclaim her old life or family. With no friends and no money, she is forced to live rough but finds allies in unexpected places.
And as their lives diverge, each Beth finds an inner strength; as government agents close in, what starts as a fight to just be Beth turns into a fight for survival.
This is an unusual story told from several perspectives. While I’m not normally a fan of first person and third person narrators used within the same story, here it works extremely well to differentiate between the two main characters and allows us deeper insight into Beth Two, who throughout the story grows from simply the replica into a force to be reckoned with. And by the end, I wasn’t sure which Beth I felt the most empathy with.
A fascinating insight into what makes a person who they are – how lives, memories and personality shape character. And I might add – flawlessly written and perfectly formatted too. As good as, if not better, than any of the paperbacks on the best-sellers shelves in the shops.
Reviewed by Debbie Bennett
This book is available in Kindle format
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