Friday 11 December 2020

Mirrorland - Carole Johnstone

The most dangerous stories are the ones we tell ourselves…

No. 36 Westeryk Road, an imposing flat-stone house on the outskirts of Edinburgh. A house of curving shadows and crumbling grandeur. But it’s what lies under the house that is extraordinary – Mirrorland. A vivid make-believe world that twin sisters Cat and El created as children. A place of escape, but from what?

Now in her thirties, Cat receives the shocking news that her sister has disappeared. Forced to return to Edinburgh, Cat finds herself irresistibly drawn back into Mirrorland. Because El has a plan. She’s left behind a treasure hunt that will unearth long-buried secrets…

What did I think?

I was so very intrigued by the synopsis of Mirrorland that I just had to read it.  What wonderful ingredients Carole Johnstone has chosen: twin girls, a creepy house in Edinburgh, a fantasy land hidden under the house and now a missing twin.  Buckle yourself in for the rollercoaster ride that is Mirrorland.  

It's impossible to work out what is real and what is fantasy in Mirrorland, so you just have to go with the flow.  El and Cat are rare mirror twins who live with their mother and grandfather in a grand old house in Edinburgh.  Almost like going through the wardrobe to Narnia, they have a fantasy world beneath their house where they can sail the high seas or spend time in the wild west.  It sounds like great fun but El and Cat are so firmly ensconced in Mirrorland that even many years later, they no longer know what or who is real.

Cat and El have been estranged for many years (and the story behind this is brilliant) but Cat returns to the creepy old house when El disappears.  The police and El's husband are convinced that she is dead but Cat firmly believes that El is alive and sending her messages.  Messages that force Cat to confront the dark and dirty truth about Mirrorland and the secrets that have been buried deep inside her.

Mirrorland is a highly imaginative, twisty debut from Carole Johnstone.  It takes so many unexpected twists and turns that you really don't know what direction it is heading in.  Even if you work some of it out, there is so much going on that it's impossible to guess every single little thing.  It's a lot darker than I imagined it would be but it's a very compelling read so once it draws you in, it's impossible to put down.  

Creepy, dark and disturbing; Mirrorland is a most unusual and highly inventive debut.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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