Author: Carole Johnstone
Published: April 7th 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins GB
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
One twin ran. The other vanished. Neither escaped…
DON’T TRUST ANYONE
Cat’s twin sister El has disappeared. But there’s one thing Cat is sure of: her sister isn’t dead. She would have felt it. She would have known.
DON’T TRUST YOUR MEMORIES
To find her sister, Cat must return to their dark, crumbling childhood home and confront the horrors that wait there. Because it’s all coming back to Cat now: all the things she has buried, all the secrets she’s been running from.
DON’T TRUST THIS STORY…
The closer Cat comes to the truth, the closer to danger she is. Some things are better left in the past…
‘I told you,’ I say. ‘Because this is what she does.’ Because it’s what I would never do. Because we are not the same. Have never been the same. Because she is my exact opposite. My reflection. My Mirror Twin.’
A dark, treacherous, crooked and duplicitous tale, Mirrorland is Carole Johnstone’s latest psychological suspense novel. A thriller full of speculation, wrong turns, twists and shocks, Mirrorland is a novel that seemed to have me wrapped around its little finger.
The thrill stage is set at 36 Westeryk Road, where the looming presence of a stone-built abode rests a small distance away from Scotland’s capital. This locale is a creepy place where shadows and imagination run wild. A set of twins living at this spooky residence know that the house hides a secret world named Mirrorland. This make-believe world is a place of sanctuary for the twins in a world filled with horror. But why must these twin girls retreat from the world around them? Moving forward in time, the twins are now grown up and living their own lives. Cat wants to put her troubled past behind her, but a devastating call to arms involving Cat’s twin sister El forces Cat to revisit her tragic past. When El, Cat’s twin sister vanishes, Cat must confront her fears and return to Westeryk Road. However, El has left behind a series of clues for Cat to discover. Cat realises that confronting the past is going to be hard, but she owes it to her lost sister. What happened to El and can Cat move on from her difficult past?
With glowing reports from some top names such as Stephen King, Ruth Ware, Sarah Pinborough and Greer Hendricks, I was immediately drawn to Mirrorland. Carole Johnstone is a new face to me, but I was prepared to take a chance on her writing after reading the very intriguing blurb for this title. I do love to get stuck into a dark gothic thriller and psychological suspense tale. The added bonus of a twin based story piqued my interest even further.
Johnstone does an excellent job with her setting. I was immediately taken with the dark, gloomy and mysterious number 36 Westeryk Road. Thanks to Johnstone’s vivid descriptions and immersive writing, I was transported with ease to this atmospheric and unsettling location base. For those who are fans of gothic tales with a strong line of suspense and thrills, this one will appeal. I liked how the house featured in Mirrorland seemed to have a mind of its own, it taunted both the twins and the reader. This aspect of the story also allows Johnstone to include elements of magical realism and fantasy. I usually experience problems with novels that employ these sub genres, but I found no issue with this area of the novel. I think it added another dimension to this sprawling tale.
I do love a good twins story and Mirrorland features a fantastic twin-based dynamic. The twin leads of this story are the mirror image of each other. I found this segment of the novel to be really interesting. Johnstone does a good job highlighting the twin dynamic, unique connection and bond between the siblings. Adding in a shared love interest contributed to a great story complication and relationship theme.
A past to present flick style narrative helps guide the direction of Mirrorland. I found it a little hard at times to grasp the interchanges between the past and the present. The past storyline forced me to use my imagination more than a few times, as I followed the twin girls through a world engulfed with fantasy, wild acts, darkness and ominous happenings. This line of this story may not be for everyone, especially as some rather unsettling events occur. However, I was seduced by the rather incredible happenings that I encountered as I followed the twins. I found my interest really peaked towards the last quarter or so of the novel, as the events of the past and present move swiftly towards a resolution.
A pressure filled tale that takes the reader to some dark areas, Mirrorland is a haunting new psychological thriller novel from an author that I will be following very closely from now on.
Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone was published on 7th April 2021 by HarperCollins GB. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Mirrorland, Carole Johnstone visit here.
*I wish to thank HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.