“Beside myself” by Ann Morgan – Book Review

What makes you ‘You’? What if your identity was in question? Is identity irrevocably linked to what others ‘expect’ of you?  These are the questions posed in “Beside Myself“.

Told in two time periods, twenty-five years apart, it is the story of identical twin girls, Helen and Ellie. As in many relationships one twin was a ‘leader’ (Helen) whilst the other was a ‘follower’ (Ellie). When they are six years old Helen decides one day to trade personas, trade clothes, and fool those around them (including their mother).  She realizes only too quickly her tragic mistake.  She finds herself on a slippery slope with no hope of a ladder.  For Ellie is enjoying being the smart one, the popular one, her mother’s favorite.  Ellie won’t switch back.  Helen is desperate to make others aware of her plight but no one believes her…

Beside myself

Fast forward in time twenty-five years. The reader is introduced to Smudge. Great name in this case as her identity has been smudged away.

A down and out artist. Drinks too much, smokes too much, is promiscuous, lives in squalor.  Smudge is mentally ill.  She hears voices and her paranoia threatens to overwhelm her.  Now the reader questions their earlier assumptions that Smudge is really  a grown up Helen. Could she in fact be Ellie???

Smudge receives a phone call from her mother letting her know that her sister has been in an accident and is now in a coma. Acting all her life, ‘Hellie’ is now a successful television actress.  She is the successful one, the beautiful one, the one with a husband, a daughter … a life.

There have been many novels penned about twins.  So interesting to have two separate personalities who look identical. We can’t resist wondering what it would be like.  After reading this novel, I NEVER want to find out.  I was filled with angst and misgiving much like the feeling I used to get watching old movies where the heroine was committed to a mental hospital when there was nothing wrong with her.  The injustice of it all!

Smudge is a beguiling and well wrought character that the reader just cannot help but empathize with.  Her sadness and loneliness make you ache for her.

Beside Myself” underscores just how fine a line there is between love and hate.  This novel also paints an alarmingly vivid portrait of mental illness.   But was the mental illness caused by the events?  Or… were the events caused by the mental illness? Or, is heredity the only cause?

If you live a lie long enough, does that lie become truth?

A well rendered, chillingly dark, and very unsettling novel of family dysfunction, “Beside Myself” will be enjoyed by all fans of the psychological thriller genre.

Thanks to Ann Morgan via TLC Book Tours and NetGalley for providing me with a digital advance reader’s copy of this novel.

F 5 star

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Ann Morgan

Ann Morgan graduated from Cambridge University with a first-class degree in English literature and went on to do a master’s in creative writing at the University of East Anglia.  She has a postgraduate diploma with distinction from the London School of Journalism.  Singing is her passion and when she’s not writing, she can often be found performing with some of London’s top professional choirs.


About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books, NetGalley, Psychological thrillers, TLC Book Tours and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to “Beside myself” by Ann Morgan – Book Review

  1. Pingback: #BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘B’ #booklovers #bookbloggers #GreatReads | Fictionophile

  2. Pingback: Throwback Thursday Jan. 25, 2018 (an old favorite recommended) | Fictionophile

  3. Holly B / Dressedtoread says:

    I’m such a psychological thriller fan. This sounds good and 5 stars!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kimberly says:

    Oh, this one sounds fantastic. I would love to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Angela DeSilva says:

    I enjoy psychological thrillers, would love to read and review.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Malia says:

    I’ve heard a lot about this, can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. karsenmax says:

    Becoming someone else. That’s why we write. ‘Beside Myself’ sounds very intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for being a part of the tour!


  9. Pingback: Ann Morgan, author of Beside Myself, on tour January/February 2016 | TLC Book Tours

  10. Sandy Jones says:

    Sounds like just my sort of read!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Angie says:

    This is already on my to be read list since the blurb makes it sound amazing and so does your review. The only thing standing in my way from reading it is not having the book! Good luck to everyone…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jeanna Massman says:

    This sounds like an intriguing book. It encourages the reader to answer the question: how far would you go to protect your identity or on the other hand what would you do for the chance to be someone else?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Brenda Best says:

    Awesome review and it sounds like a great book. I’d love a chance at winning the giveaway!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Georgia George says:

    Thank you for this opportunity to read an interesting sounding book

    Liked by 1 person

  15. crimeworm says:

    I’ve got this to read, and I thought, well they’re only 6, if she calms down they’ll think it was a phase and treat them equally – or I assume the die’s already been cast with the parents? No doubt it’ll all get explained in the book – which your review has me itching to read now. Great review, btw!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. skyecaitlin says:

    Thank you for this opportunity.


  17. I am an avid reader and enjoy reading psychological thrillers. I would love a chance to read this book and post a review on Goodreads and Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sue Leonhardt says:

    Super review. I am a avid reader and love reading psychological thrillers, so I would love a chance to win a copy of this book.


  19. Techeditor says:

    I have read so many great reviews of this book, including this one, that I really am anxious to read it.


  20. mugglebooks says:

    Greeeeat and lovely review! Thank you for the chance!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ve *GirlySunglasses* says:

    Great review. The book sounds interesting and powerful.


  22. skyecaitlin says:

    I love psychological thrillers, and this one sounds really good; very unusual, too.


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