Mirrorland By Carole Johnstone is a Dark and twisty page-turner from its opening to the end. In Mirrorland, twin sisters Catriona and Ellice develop a fantastical make believe world. The world filled with witches, pirates and clowns, as an approach to mentally escape from the oppressive, awful climate they are being brought up in. At present, Ellice is missing and assumed dead. Now Catriona should get back to her horrible childhood home to uncover what has happened to her sister. All the while, she’s compelled to deal with memories she buried long ago and recognize horrific facts about her past.
“There was never when Mirrorland didn’t feel real. Times when we were unable to feel the breeze, rain and wonder of it, or smell the ocean, smoke, sweat and blood of it. However, sometimes, Mirrorland felt very real, and those were the occasions when we were clever, cruel or afraid.”
On the Basis of description, I went into this novel expecting the domestic thriller form of The Night Circus. Expecting something imaginative and fanciful, with a decent twist or two thrown in for good measure. But, in-fact, Mirrorland wind up being a lot nearer to horror, with a touch of enchanted realism. It seemed like a mashup of The Family Upstairs (a troubled, horrendous childhood, spent in a frightening house), The Girl in the Mirror (twin sisters with a boat, where the truth isn’t what it appears), and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (an impressive level of mental escapism). What’s more, no doubt, there’s a little Verity in there as well (a series of post-mortem letters leaving you altogether uncertain of what to accept).
Mirrorland By Carole Johnstone is unsettling, creepy, horrifyingly traumatic at times. It sure goes above and beyond “thriller” in genre. In spite of the pirates and crowns, it’s not actually fantasy. A large portion of the book left me feeling sad for the twins, and angry with their mom for allowing such a life for them (and even angrier at another character who later decided to go after them due to their embedded shortcomings). Loads of twisted, sick individuals and circumstances in this book, however not in a great way.
Overall, the book is well-written and engaging. I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a twisty, crazy story!
Also Read: House of Hollow: By Krystal Sutherland