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Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone - Blog Tour and Review

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Hello! I am so happy to welcome you today to my blog for the tour for Mirrorland. If you haven't been here before, please click around and read some of my other reviews! 

I was intrigued by the premise of the book, which is an adult book and somewhat of a thriller. I found it utterly compelling and read it really quickly. It flips between the past and the present, and between fantasy and reality, leaving the reader quite confused but utterly immersed in the story.

At the beginning of the book, Catriona, known as Cat, is returning from California, where she's been leaving for twelve years, to Edinburgh, where she grew up. She is returning because her twin sister Ellice, known as El, has disappeared and is feared dead. Cat is certain she isn't dead - because she would know, wouldn't she? She would feel it. She's certain.

She returns to 36 Westeryk Road, which is the house she and El grew up in, alongside their mother and their grandpa. He was an ex Navy man and was often violent and unpredictable. This is obvious from the start of the book but the true extent of it isn't revelead until the end. 

El now lives in the house with her husband Ross, who, it turns out, was also a childhood friend of the twins and with whom Cat had a prior relationship. Ross has an alibi for El's disappearance but suspicion falls on him anyway. Cat isn't sure whether to trust him or not. She also meets two friends of El's, both of whom want news about her sister. 

El had a boat and was a proficient sailor, but no trace of her boat has been found. The police explain what tracking equipment has gone wrong on the boat, and also that the search will be scaled back. Cat starts to receive threatening cards, hand delivered to the house, and learns that El had received the same too. She learns that Ross and El's marriage was rocky, but she still isn't sure if Ross is a killer.

Then there's the house itself. The twins' mum told them fairy stories and fantasy stories, as well as reading them stories about escape, like Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The girls also built up a rich fantasy world in their minds. Each bedroom is a whole world, including Bedroom 3 which they were never to go in. The girls were terrified of Bluebeard, and of the Tooth Fairy, who was scared of clowns. The house also has an under passage, which the girls imagined as their very own ship, with their very own crew, including Mouse. I was a little confused about the geography of the passage, so I hope I've got it right. It is accessed via a back staircase into the garden. 

Back in the present day, Cat begins to receive emails that could be from El, or could be from someone else, or... she's not sure. The emails give clues to Cat which unearth pages from El's diary from when the girls were small, when something happened when they were twelve which ended their first life. Cat is alternately in anguish for and angry with her sister. 

I liked Cat and wanted her to be okay. She's lived through a lot of trauma and has estranged herself from her sister for over a decade. I really wanted to know what had happened and liked the resolution of the book. I'm giving this four out of five. It's so creepy in parts and the house is a true gothic horror complete with ringing bells! 


  1. Hi Rebecca,
    Thank you so much again for reading and reviewing Mirrorland, and for being part of the blog tour!
    All best wishes,
    Carole x



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