Saturday 19 June 2021

BLOG TOUR: Mirrorland - Carole Johnstone

I read Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone in 2020 but I am delighted to repost my review today as part of The Write Reads Ultimate Blog Tour.  

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.

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

About the author:

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.

Twitter: @C_L_Johnstone
Instagram: @carole_l_johnstone 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Michelle! I love this review, and I'm very grateful to you for being part of the Mirrorland blog tour!
    All best wishes,
    Carole x