Cover Image: Double Lives

Double Lives

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Member Reviews

I don't even know how to rate this, to be honest! I always grab a Mary Monroe book because her characters make me shake my head. They are simultaneously the dumbest and the most entertaining people ever. Mary is an author whose writing is very simple (some say sophomoric) but whose stories are so deeply complex. I felt the beginning of this novel was a little slow and heavy on the detail but we understand why the detail is needed later in the story. DID NOT EXPECT THE ENDING

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Identical twins Fiona and Leona find it amusing and convenient to switch identities as it suits them, but could their harmless switching lead to serious trouble?

This 320-page historical fiction is a great example of why Mary Monroe is one of my favorite authors. Her unique writing style and engaging plots are always a guarantee that I will be drawn in for a thrilling read. The author masterfully developed Fiona and Leona’s story throughout and lastly climaxed in a plot twist that I did not see coming.

Double Lives is a work of historical fiction that spans from 1901 to 1938 in a small, segregated country town in Alabama. Readers will be introduced to identical twins Fiona and Leona Dunbar who find it amusing in ‘fooling folks’ by switching their identities. The narrative alternates between Fiona and Leona’s perspectives. The author’s signature style of creating characters that are intriguing and memorable resulting in this entertaining, and original plot. I found myself unable to put the book down, eager to see how the story would unfold.

The bond between the sisters is like no other. I found it disturbing the sacrifices Leona made for Fiona. It was even more unsettling that Fiona allowed her sister to take on a negative image while benefiting from their switching. In my opinion, Fiona was selfish, while Leona was naive and always ended up being the protector or scapegoat. This unfair dynamic between the sisters made me angry. Leona was also naive when it came to her friendship with Bonnie Sue. Bonnie Sue got on my nerves and was very much obsessed with Leona, but Leona could not see it.

Who wouldn’t want to trade places to get out of trouble or to get out of their current circumstances? Mary Monroe has written another captivating five-star book that tells the story of the Dunbar sisters’ masquerade, which ignites into something they may not be able to switch back from. I highly recommend it.

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Mary Monroe has once again proven why she is a favorite author of mine with her latest novel. From the very beginning, I found myself completely engrossed in the story and on the edge of my seat, eager to see what would happen next.

The character of Leona quickly became my favorite, despite her naivety, while I found myself disliking Fiona for her selfishness. As the story unfolded, I appreciated the depth of each character and their complexities, especially as we learned more about why Leona's mother treated her the way she did.

While some of the characters' actions could have been avoided if their mother wa less judgmental and harsh, the plot twists and turns kept me hooked until the very end. I found myself unable to put this book down and finished it much quicker than I would have liked.

Overall, Mary Monroe has once again delivered a gripping and compelling novel that kept me captivated from start to finish. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a thrilling and engaging read. Awesome job, as always, Mary Monroe!

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GENERAL INFO

Double Lives- a standalone

Year Pub/Re Pub: 3-26-24, Read 3-28-24

Format: eBook, 320 pages

Setting: Lexington, AL (1901-1938) The Depression Era

Genre: AA interests, historical, romance

Tropes: racism, sexism, slavery, secret pregnancy, colorism

TW: attempted SA, r*pe, murder, cheating

 HEA/HFN ending: HEA for Leona

Epilogue Included:  yes, 1 year later

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Synopsis/Plot Summary: Two twin sisters Fiona and Leona make a childhood prank of switching identities into adulthood. Over time the stakes get higher and the consequences more severe. It leads to cheating, obsession, and even murder.

M/F-M/M-M/M/F-etc: M/F

Representation: POC, LGBTQIIA+, Veterans, disabled

Flashbacks: The most important one was Mama talking to Leona as Fiona . Mama explained why she was so hard on Leona

Jealy/Possy/OTT H/h : yes, both sisters were jealous of each other which caused them to switch so often

Amount of Sex In The Book: enough

CHARACTER DESCRIPTION

Fiona Dunbar: posed as the fragile, good, and virtuous twin, but caused trouble all the time for Leona

Leona Dunbar: the wild, "loose" twin. She always took the blame for Fiona's bad behavior and their mother was always hard on her.

"Mama" Mavis Dunbar: the twins mother, a housekeeper. Husband Clyde died when the twins were 6 years old

Jubal: Fiona's husband. A good, "God fearing" man who works as an auto mechanic with his own shop.

Lamar: Fiona and Jubal's son. He doesn't gives them any problems, graduates high school, and goes into the military.

Bonnie Sue- a childhood friend to both Leona and Fiona but after all her family died of sickness, she becomes very close to Leona-even moves in with her. Married a railroad porter Clayton + had 3 sons

H /h RELATIONSHIP INFO

OW/OM/Exes: both Fiona and Leona had plenty but the stand outs were Ernest Lee, Jubal, Wally, and Boaz

AUTHOR OVERVIEW

 Mary Monroe-I read her God Don't Like Ugly series years ago, gave both 4/5

PERSONAL OVERVIEW

Overall Rating: 5/5

Do You Recommend This Book: yes

Will You Re-read This Book: yes

Would You Read More Books by this Author: yes

COMMENTS/NOTES
I am in a daze at the sacrifices Leona made for Fiona. From faking a pregnancy to going to jail, Leona was obsessed with her sister. She had Bonnie Sue tendencies towards Fiona , and could never say no to her. Karma caught up with them though, and Leona did get her HEA but man was it a whirlwind of secrets and lies!

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for this ARC 🩷! I voluntarily give an honest review and all opinions expressed are mine alone.

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The story was absolutely phenomenal and roped me in from the very beginning.
The characters themselves are incredibly unique and some were just ones we love to hate.
The best thing in my opinion was the bond between Leona and Fiona, I could definitely relate to it.
Definitely look forward to see what else this author publishes!

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Once again this author has written a storyline that draws you in from the very beginning until the end.
Leona and Fiona are identical twin sisters that no one can tell who is who. Even their mother has to tie a different color hair ribbon to their hair to be able to tell them apart from each other.
The storyline takes place during the 1900’s where Jim Crow, segregation and lynchings of black people took place in the south. Leona and Fiona lived in a small town with their mother Mavis who tried to bring up her girls in a loving Christian home since their father was deceased.
As the girls were growing up and through adulthood they would exchange places with each other and no one else was none the wiser.
I enjoyed this storyline there were a lot of shenanigans, plot twist and turns especially the tragedy at the end which I didn’t see coming.
I highly recommend this book to read and other books by this author.
I received an arc from NetGalley and this review is of my own honest opinion and thoughts.

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Thank you to NetGalley for an opportunity to read the advanced reader copy of this book. I have to admit that I was skeptical when I read the description for this book. I have been around sets of identical twins. Although they look alike, people close them can tell the difference. Twins have different cadences to their speech, different mannerisms, and different personalities. Therefore, the fact that Fiona and Leona's mother couldn't even tell them apart wasn't believable. In this book, nobody could tell the twins apart (not even significant others or best friends).
However, this book was definitely entertaining. As the story opens the reader realizes that the twins have developed two different constructs of themselves. One construct was "good" and the other was "bad." The Fiona that people knew wasn't really a person, she was just the good parts of both twins. The same with Leona (the "naughty" or bad part of both twins). Throughout the book I did feel like Leona was codling her sister, which gave her a sense of entitlement. During the last quarter of the book, true to form, Mary Monroe threw in her plot twist. However, she did develop the story throughout the book so that the ending wasn't a total surprise. Overall, this was a good read.

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I typically like Mary Monroe’s books, but I wasn’t a fan of this one. The two leads are allegedly very different, but their perspectives run together, so it was impossible to remember whose POV I was in. The book was also deadly slow, with not much of interest happening.

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Mary Monroe is a queen of historical fiction. In this new wonderful masterpiece she writes about two twin sisters who decide to live each others lives. This book was beyond engaging, it had you along for the ride with both of the sisters and wanting more as the pages turned. Monroe has such a finesse when it comes to writing historical fiction. I will definitely the intricacies of this book and can not recommend it enough. Not was the book beautifully written but the cover is absolutely Stunning.

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Another hit for Mary Monroe. I adored this book and Monroe can tackle historical fiction like no one else. The plot was engaging and very believable, twins living each other's lives. I loved all the many details that were put into the story and I appreciated that I learned a few things along the read.

A great read.

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"Double Lives" by Mary Monroe is an absolute triumph, earning every one of its well-deserved five stars. In this latest masterpiece, Monroe takes readers on a riveting journey into the lives of identical twin sisters, Leona and Fiona Dunbar, navigating the complexities of the Depression-era South with finesse and drama.

From the very beginning, Monroe's storytelling prowess captivates as she weaves a tale of deception, scandal, and unbreakable sisterly bonds. The duo's penchant for switching lives is not just a mere gimmick but a powerful narrative device that allows Monroe to delve into the stark differences between the outspoken Leona and the seemingly demure Fiona. The way they navigate their small, respectable hometown of Lexington, fooling everyone from teachers to boyfriends, is both entertaining and captivating.

The heart of the story lies in the unshakeable bond between the sisters, as evidenced by Leona's willingness to endure jail time for Fiona. Monroe skillfully explores the intricacies of their relationship, making it a poignant and central element of the narrative. The characters are vividly drawn, and the dynamics between them add layers of complexity to the plot.

What sets "Double Lives" apart is the masterful exploration of desire, independence, and the consequences of hidden passions. Leona's shock at discovering the security of domestic life and Fiona reveling in newfound freedom create a compelling dynamic. The unexpected sparks between Leona and Fiona's husband add an extra layer of tension and delicious intrigue, keeping readers on the edge of their seats.

As the sisters' masquerade unfolds, Monroe expertly delves into the depths of human desires and the repercussions of unearthing long-buried secrets. The fallout rocks their small town, creating a gripping narrative that explores the limits of sisterhood, trust, and redemption. Monroe navigates the complexities of love, betrayal, and forgiveness with finesse, leaving readers emotionally invested until the very end.

"Double Lives" is a tour de force of Southern drama, skillfully written by an award-winning New York Times bestselling author at the top of her game. Mary Monroe's storytelling prowess shines through every page, making this novel an absolute must-read for fans of drama, scandal, and the enduring power of sisterhood. Highly recommended!

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Mary Monroe just keeps delivering with this series. I love the characters and her books always leave me wanting more. Highly recommended!!

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I absolutely loved it. I knew I had to read this the moment I came upon the blurb and it delivered. The story was phenomenal and had me in chokehold and took me on an emotional rollercoaster from the get go with amazing characters I love to hate. Leona was my absolute favorite. Loved her to death. Fiona and Mavis, I had a love hate relationship with because they got on my nerves all the time lol.


As a black historical fiction it was emotionally difficult to read at times with elements of racism and segregation at the core of the story.

My favorite part of this story was the bond between Leona and Fiona. A sisterly bond that transcends all.

This was my first read by this author and it definitely won’t be my last.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC

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Double Lives is a book about twin sisters and their deep dark secrets. As the story unfolds, themes of selfishness, love, betrayal, manipulation, and the consequences of the sister’s secrets start to unravel. The secrets lead to unexpected twists and turns that would make your head spin. The book will keep you turning pages until the end and leave you want just one more page.

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This was my first Mary Monroe book. I liked the plot however I did not like the writing style. In my opinion it lacked depth leading to very poor character development. The description of the environments was also very weak which made it very difficult for me as a reader to immerse myself in the story.

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Amazing!! I love all of Mary Monroe’s books and this one did not disappoint. It was well written, the plot was interesting and pulled me in from the beginning. I love how Mary brings these characters to life and all of the twists made sense.

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Yes! Yes! Yes!!! This is the Mary Monroe I have come to know and love! What an excellent read. I enjoyed this story from start to finish. The boldness of Leona and Fiona to switch lives randomly for their benefit whenever they felt like it was mind blowing. A times I wondered how much one sister who I won’t name cared for the other as she would do things that were very damaging but led everyone to believe it was her sister. I feel conflicted by the ending. I enjoyed it, but if I keep typing I’m going to tell too much. All I can say is GET this book now!!!!! It’s a must read.

Thank you Dafina, Kensington and NetGalley for the opportunity to review an advance copy of this book.

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Another winner from the talented Mary Monroe. Great plot with twins switching roles and living each others life. Very interesting read and the twists were very believable. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on my review.

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I am a fan of Mary Monroe, and she did not disappoint! Her patented penchant for drama and flair for plot twists is the spice that makes this a wonderful read. I cannot wait for the next installment!

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Just wow to this book. Way better than i expected for sure. My mama has always read this author and this was my first time reading her work.

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