Delving back into the intriguing thrillers with the wonderfully twisty Mirrorland.
Twelve years ago my life began again.
But it was a lie.
With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is the story of twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.
Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.
But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still full of shadowy, hidden corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues all over the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…
A sharply crafted mystery about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, and Daphne du Maurier.
When I first read the description for this book I was definitely intrigued, it sounded like a thriller with a bit of something fantastical about it. What I will say is I’m glad I didn’t have any expectations or other notions heading into this book, I’m glad I got to immerse myself in this complex and clever story without having read too much about it beforehand and would caution reading too much about the book before going in. Also as you can imagine I’m not going to say too much about it, because it would definitely spoil it.
I think clever really is the best word for this book, everything has a context and a meaning and even something that may seem insignificant is later revisited and forms an intricate part of this brilliant plot. I loved that as revelations were made another piece of this puzzle would pop into place but in a way that I wouldn’t have expected.
The setting felt spot on, there is something about an imposing childhood home that adds to the chilling atmosphere, I think as well because I can picture where this is it makes it easier to feel that cold and dark backdrop to the story. I loved the contrast of Mirrorland being a source of comfort for the characters at the same time as being an eerie and uncomfortable place.
The characters were great, you didn’t know who to trust and who would be right about what happened to El. I like that there were redeeming features and terrible qualities for all of them it definitely added to the tension of the story.
I really wish I could give all of my thoughts but I am going to have to leave it at that because I really do believe that the less you know before reading this book the better. What I will say though is that this is a book that consumed me, once I started reading I didn’t want to put it down and I was constantly surprised at where the story went, especially as I would not have guessed any of the outcomes. Highly recommended.
Carole Johnstone is an award-winning writer from Scotland, whose short stories have been published all over the world. Mirrorland, a psychological suspense with a gothic twist, is her debut novel.
Having grown up in Lanarkshire, she now lives in the beautiful Argyll & Bute, and is currently working on her second novel: a very unusual murder-mystery, set in the equally beautiful Outer Hebrides.