|| Book Review || Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone ||
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Age category: Adult
Release Date: April 20th 2021
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.
I know there are a lot of mixed reviews out there for this book and I think I can understand why but I really loved this!
Mirrorland is like an onion, a weird thing to say but it’s what comes to mind so I am just going to go with it.
This is a psychological thriller with so many layers, when you peel one away there is another one to peel right after that.
This is a book that is dark, complex, intense, exciting, confusing and strange all rolled into one!
So we start off with a set of identical twins or “mirror twins” as they are often referred to in the story.
Cat and El were brought up by their mother and grandfather in a big, strange old house in Edinburgh. I absolutely loved the map of the house at the start if the book, I thought that was a great addition!
The narrator of the story is Cat who is a very unreliable narrator as she has a LOT of repressed memories that need to be uncovered for the story to really make sense.
We begin with Cat returning to Scotland after living in the US for years. She has been estranged from her twin for a long time and only returns upon finding out that she has actually gone missing and is presumed dead in a boating accident.
Cat reconnects with El’s husband who was a childhood friend to them both and this is where the onion begins to peel!
You can tell from the moment Cat returns to her childhood home that there is a LOT to uncover. Their childhood was traumatic and abusive but it takes a long time to discover exactly what, who and why and I really liked that.
A big part of the mystery is “Mirrorland” which is a part of the house the children used to play in, sort of like their very own Narnia and it is very difficult to describe it all without giving out any major spoilers so I will just stop by saying that Mirrorland is a work of imagination but it is also as real as anything else. It is a unique concept to me that I really enjoyed reading about.
The book is absolutely full of twists and turns and it is constantly throwing curveballs at you making you wonder if El is really dead. Did she kill herself? Did her husband kill her? And when you think you know all the answers it throws another complicated twist into the mix that has you doubting yourself all over again just when you think you have it all worked out.
There is a lot of detail in this story and you need to pay attention because it would be very easy to get lost in the labyrinth that is this book!
Cat’s memories, imagination, fears and desires are all tangled up and you need to get to the end with her to understand the deep, dark secrets of Mirrorland.
I really enjoyed reading this, it was thrilling and fantastical. Imaginative and gripping and full of suspense and questions.
It also had a very satisfying ending and I felt like by the end I completely understood everything that had happened and it was just brilliant, very clever.
I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a complex thriller but also to someone who wants to read something a little bit unusual!