No. 36 Westeryk Road, an imposing flat-stone house on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
A house of curving shadows and crumbling grandeur. But it’s what lies under the
house that is extraordinary – Mirrorland. A vivid make-believe world that twin sisters
Cat and El created as children. A place of escape, but from what?
Now in her thirties, Cat receives the shocking news that her sister has disappeared.
Forced to return to Edinburgh, Cat finds herself irresistibly drawn back into
Mirrorland. Because El has a plan. She’s left behind a treasure hunt that will unearth
A sharply crafted mystery about the power of imagination and the price of
freedom, perfect for fans of Erin Kelly and Tana French.
Carole Johnstone’s award-winning short fiction has been reprinted in many
annual ‘Best of’ anthologies in the UK and US. She lives in Argyll & Bute,
Scotland, with her husband. Mirrorland is her debut novel.
Mirrorland is a book unlike any other. The first couple of chapters had me bemused at times, but they paved the way for what was to be an unforgettable, all consuming read.
Catriona and Ellice are twin sisters -‘mirror twins’ – who spend a somewhat lonely, isolating childhood in Edinburgh with their Mother and Grandfather. The girls end up creating their own world, somewhere in which they feel completely safe from reality where they can sail away on boats with people their minds have invented, and embark on some wonderful adventures – they name this land they have created for themselves Mirrorland.
As soon as you start reading this story, it is clear there is something much darker lurking under the surface, but despite knowing there is something awful taking place in the girls early years it is impossible to guess as to what that actually is. The only thing we know for certain at this point is what we were told in the prologue… where Catriona and Ellice were found late at night at the harbour, with blood soaked jumpers – and this is where they created their own ‘safe’ world.
And now the story takes a leap forward. Catriona, now 31 years old lives in the USA, meanwhile Ellice has married Ross – an old neighbour of theirs – and has moved back to the childhood home the girls shared. When El suddenly goes missing on a sailing trip, Cat finds herself being drawn back to Edinburgh, and back to the childhood home she would much rather forget.
Catriona tells the police openly that she is certain that Ellice is still alive, as she would surely have felt something with a connection as strong as theirs if something bad had occurred. This suspicion is quickly confirmed when Cat starts receiving emails that direct her to revisit placed that they had created in Mirrorland, and they have left clues that are clearly left for her to discover.
This story is such a fast paced, thrilling story that reels you in and has you on the edge of your seat throughout. Carole Johnstone has such a compelling writing style that makes you feel as though you are experiencing everything first-hand alongside Catriona and Ellice, and you certainly get a real understanding for how they must have felt at many points throughout this story.
As I mentioned previously, this is a book unlike any other I have come across before. The story is so unique and chilling, with a storyline that has so much depth and various layers intertwining throughout. There are many twists and turns that you don’t anticipate at all, and an ending that really did shock me to my core. This book is one of those stories I will be talking about for quite some time, and one I will definitely be telling others they simply must read.
About the Author
Scottish writer Carole Johnstone’s debut novel, Mirrorland, will be published in spring 2021 by Borough Press/HarperCollins in the UK and Commonwealth and by Scribner/Simon & Schuster in North America.
Her award-winning short fiction has been reprinted in many annual ‘Best Of’ anthologies in the UK and the US. She has been published by Titan Books, Tor Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and PS Publishing, and has written Sherlock Holmes stories for Constable & Robinson and Running Press.
Carole is represented by Hellie Ogden at Janklow & Nesbit UK and Allison Hunter at Janklow & Nesbit (US).
More information on the author can be found at carolejohnstone.com.