Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little corner of the internet. Today I’m bringing you my review of the thriller Mirrorland, as part of the blog tour for The Write Reads. My thanks to him and to the publisher, Scribner, for my eARC of the book. Because of my ongoing visiual impairment issues, I did end up listening to the audio book which has already been released, but I don’t think that retracts from my review; if anything, it just gives another insight to the book and how it came across.
Trigger warnings for childhood abuse, spousal abuse, suicide (death by, attempts, notes, discussion of), murder, characters with untreated trauma, alcohol abuse.
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.
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from this book, but it absolutely blew me out of the water. There were twists and turns – some I saw coming, some I didn’t – that just kept happening, to the point my head was almost spinning with trying to keep up with what was going on. And I mean that in the very best of ways.
At first, neither El nor Kat seem like particularly likeable characters, but the more the world starts to strip back – the more we go back to Mirrorland – the reasons we see for that, and the amount of empathy and tenderness I ended up having for both of them by the end cannot be overstated. The supporting cast of characters we meet and hear about keep adding to the emotional rollarcoster, creating a confusion in Kat’s head that we feel through the pages.
I’ve always hated the implication that children can survive anything. The reality is, children are adaptive, and will make their surroundings work to make sense of the world around them when there’s things they can’t understand. El and Kat are prime examples of that adaptability. They create a whole universe to get through every day, without even knowing that’s what they were doing.
I was left with a bit of a hole in my heart after finishing the book, and squeezed my son extra tight when I hugged him at bedtime.
Author Carole Johnstone has created a masterpiece of a book that will stay with me for a long, long time to come. I also highly recommend the audio version as it’s read beautifully, hauntingly, well.
So there we have it. If you follow along The Write Reads using the link about you can keep up with the other reviews from this tour and others.
Be sure to pop back again soon; I post daily! Happy reading bookworms.