Author: Carole Johnstone
Release Date: 20/4/21
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 48
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from ScribnerBooks and The Write Reads ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is a thrilling work of psychological suspense about twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.
Cat lives in Los Angeles, far away from 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where she and her estranged twin sister, El, 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 36 Westeryk Road, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. The grand old house is still full of shadowy 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 in almost every room: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…
A twisty, dark, and brilliantly crafted thriller about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom.
Content Warning for Abuse, violence, alcoholism, drug use and talk of suicide. If any of these topics are difficult for you you may not like this book.
I really enjoyed this one. This was a slow paced mystery that just slowly and methodically unravels and reveals itself to you in such a well paced manor. Initially a little confusing to get into as you try to tell apart the real from the imaginary, this book eventually reels you in and captures you in a web of lies, half truths and buried secrets that it keeps you reading to find out the truth. The reveals are tantalising but never quite give you the whole picture so you have to keep reading to find out more and more.
The imaginary world created by the twins in there youth is dark and mysterious and a really inventive way to convey the story to the reader as Cat rediscovers what was part of the game and what had more sinister connotations. It gives this book an almost horror like feel as the lines between imaginary and reality blur for Cat as she tries to work out what has happened to her sister. Is her disappearance just another game or something more sinister itself. The unreliable nature of all the characters and their memories just adds more to the tension. It was really good seeing the flash of childhood memories as they changed for Cat, as she replayed them and restructured them as her understanding grew. I really got a sense of all the clues piecing together and conclusions changing as we uncovered more and more about the sisters relationship, their childhood, Mirrorland and beyond.
I just found the writing, pacing of the twist turns and reveals, as well as the plot itself to be excellent. I am a little biased at the setting I don’t live very far from Leith links and Newhaven harbour where the twins grew up, so I could really picture the layout of the townhouse and how Mirrorland would fit into it. The plot itself had you double guessing yourself, it was occasionally spooky, occasionally shocking and overall entertaining.