The Strange Likeness

Harriet Pyne Grove, 1929

Holy Haley Mills! It's the identical-twins-separated-in-infancy plot! The mystery is a mystery only to the girls, and their investigation consists of asking their parents -- but we are getting ahead of the story.

Through a series of what are described as "odd calamities," Sidney Thorn and Shirley Halcourt, twins, are raised in different backgrounds and don't know of each other's existence. Sidney's family is upper-crust, and exclusive boarding schools are the educational norm to her. Shirley is the only surviving child of a respected college professor, whose rewards have been other than financial. For Shirley, boarding school is a wonderful dream only possible because her parents are taking a sabbatical year in Africa. However, since they choose the same school, the girls find themselves faced with their inexplicable resemblance.

Although the story follows Shirley, it is Sidney who is most concerned. It is Sidney who finds having a double to be very threatening, and Sidney whose world is turned upside down by the discovery of her adoption. Shirley, whose value system has been a bit different, has to point out to her twin the difference between superiority and self-respect.

Not much of a mystery, but a sound assessment of the pros and cons of differing adoption philosophies.

© 1993 Jo Anne Fatherly

(This review first appeared in The Whispered Watchword, the newsletter of The Phantom Friends)