I was intrigued by this story on reading the review from Book Chick. I also like the effect of a story told in two parallel lines. Sometimes the story is told by two different people and very often in two different time frames. This is the latter.
We have the present day story of Moira - a respected languages professor, lonely, her best friend is wondering about her sanity, her mother avoids her at all costs and that makes her more and more introverted and lonely.
We have the past story of Moira and Maeve the twins who could not be more unalike! Maeve vivacious, pretty, bubbly, attractive. Moira the "plain" one, shunned, not popular and on the sidelines. The story of their childhood and young teen years are heart breaking. Sisters fight it is true but this quiet enmity and standoffishness is something else.
Added to a family story we then get to the point of where the story turns in another direction. Upto now it would seem a normal family saga - here we have the spirit of mysticsm and spirituality come in. I found this part a little difficult to comprehend. For me, though of course linked to the story it seemed like a third dimension which for me was not quite necessary.
The book is beautifully written though and very descriptive. Human feelings of compassion, forgiveness and love and that these would conquer all other things is paramount in the story. The story is a haunting one.