My little sister and I are very alike. If we still lived in the same city, I have no doubt at this point we would definitely get a lot more questions about whether we are fraternal twins. However, I can’t say I’ve ever been on a mind-reading twin wavelength with her, and that’s where my life similarities with Maggie’s Ruse begin and end.
This twin novel takes on an interesting question: if you could live a different life, even just for a moment, would you shed your skin for your lookalike’s? Maggie Dugan can’t resist temptation one day, when she steps into her twin Martha’s shoes and usurps her romantic interest, Josh. But this is just the beginning; as the girls push each other away, each begins to find herself, and they become entangled in this continued temptation to act as the other. But, the novel doesn’t press too hard; in the end, it’s a story about sisterhood. Your family is what counts, even if they aren’t perfect, and they will always be there to pick up the pieces or celebrate your wins.
Even though I wasn’t really able to put myself in this rich life of the twins very well, I appreciated Parrish’s development of the back and forth relationship of the Dugan sisters in Maggie’s Ruse. Thematically, it felt a little bit like The Last Five Years, which is a musical I greatly adore. I found the writing style a little hard to connect to, but all in all enjoyed where the sisters took me on their journey to find one another (and themselves). Check it out at the links below, and add it to your TBR or Christmas list!
Maggie and Marta Dugan, twenty-seven-year-old identical twins, live the good life in New York City on their stepfather’s money. Each has a glamorous calling. Maggie paints; Marta appears onstage. Success, though, eludes them. Marta’s roles are few and far between. Maggie’s endorsements are infrequent at best. When gallery after gallery passes on her work, she begins to doubt her talent. Home alone one afternoon, fueled by frustration, she is seized by a sudden, wild impulse to masquerade as Marta when a friend of hers drops by. The ruse is quickly discovered when Marta returns from another shopping spree, a rift between the sisters ensues, and they go their separate ways. But living apart proves harder than either thought at first. Each carries the other firmly within her, making any true independence nearly impossible. As the weeks pass, the weight of absence sometimes becomes difficult to bear. Both find a surprising degree of success in their respective efforts, due perhaps to their newfound freedom, yet the bond between them remains firm. Can they come back together, and under what circumstances would a reunion be viable? Has the time come for an open discussion of their issues with each other? Unable to fully answer these questions, each knows only that she needs the other to feel whole.