Carole Johnstone | Mirrorland

The Book: 

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone, 2021

The Characters: 

Twin sisters Cat and El
El’s husband Ross

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

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…

Click here for book spoilers for Mirrorland
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Mirrorland, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

El had staged her death to make sure Ross was blamed, since she knew he was going to kill her anyways. He was abusing her, and told her that if she ever left him he’d do the same to Cat.

Mouse was El and Cat’s triplet. Their mother had given her to her sister to protect the other two. It was her body that was found with El’s boat.

The Ending:

Cat finds El on the island that their mother always said their father would take them to. They scatter Mouse’s ashes in the lagoon.

The Review: 

Thank you to Libro FM and NetGalley for my copies! I love it when I have options as to how to read a book. I often have a hard time focusing on eBooks, because I read them on my phone and get distracted when texts or other notifications come in. When I was having trouble getting into this ebook, so I was thrilled when it showed up as an option from Libro FM!

I loved the premise of this story–twin girls creating a magical world in their play area in order to escape the harsh realities of their abusive childhood. I really enjoyed how in-depth a world their imaginations were able to create. 

At times, on audio, the shifts between fantasy and reality got a little bit confusing. I feel like reading a hard copy would be able to follow, since you would more easily be able to flip back a few pages to sort out what was going on. I haven’t read a lot of magical realism.

The investigation into El’s disappearance was interesting, and I was eager to figure out the twist. I didn’t find any of the main characters to be that likable, though, so I had trouble connecting with their stories. Overall I enjoyed the ending and was certainly surprised.

mirrorland carole johnstone

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