Double Stitch by John Rolfe Gardiner

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By the award-winning author of Somewhere in France , a historical novel based on a true story of orphaned identical twins born to switched identities, uncanny communications, and terrible trials. Identical twins Rebecca and Linda Carey arrive at Drayton Orphanage in 1926, aged ten. Copper-skinned and blond, beautiful but diffident, their perfectly matched faces, manners, and voices make them indistinguishable. Drayton is an institution of stone cottages and archaic values (chiseled into one wall is the phrase "A Woman Should Please, That Is Her Happiness") that to them is nothing more than a fantasy land with no bearing on their eventual future. They plan on getting as far away "as a dollar will send a post card. "The world that awaits them on their release, however, proves infinitely more complex--and dangerous--than any of their imaginings. Rebecca heads for China, only to discover her intended guardian has less than noble intentions, while Linda endures a tramp's journey across the United States to California, only to find herself captive to a fanatic's vision. Separated at opposite ends of the world, the twins' shared willfulness and navet has led them to similar straits. As World War II approaches, they face a final struggle to see whether either can survive the fate of the double in this mysterious and compellingly readable novel.

About John Rolfe Gardiner

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John Rolfe Gardiner is the author of three previous novels -- Great Dream from Heaven, Unknown Soldiers, and In the Heart of the Whole World -- and two collections of stories, Going On Like This and The Incubator Ballroom. He is the winner of a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award. His stories frequently appear in "The New Yorker. He lives in Unison, Virginia, with his wife and his daughter.
Published September 25, 2003 by Counterpoint. 336 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The twins endure two separate, harrowing journeys (one to California, the other to China), but Gardiner relates these events flatly, and the idea of the "double" is tirelessly debated—by Eula, Otto and their associates—giving the metaphor-heavy novel a static, leaden feel.

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