#TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Review: Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A beautifully designed and executed thriller that will keep you guessing to the very end.

Thank you so much to The Write Reads, Penguin, and Carole Johnstone, for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary physical copy and media kit!

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

About the Author

Carole Johnstone is an award-winning writer from Scotland, whose short stories have been published all over the world. Mirrorland, a psychological suspense with a gothic twist, is her debut novel.

Having grown up in Lanarkshire, she now lives in the beautiful Argyll & Bute, and is currently working on her second novel: a very unusual murder-mystery, set in the equally beautiful Outer Hebrides.

Review

Book CWs

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise

Twelve years ago my life began again.

But it was a lie.

With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is the story of twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.

Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they 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 the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still full of shadowy, hidden 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 all over the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting…

A sharply crafted mystery about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, and Daphne du Maurier.

Review (No Spoilers)

This book was fantastic! Though I received a complimentary hardcover for this tour, I initially started off listening to this on Audiobook so that I could continue doing work at the same time. Eventually, I switched to the physical, and then went back to audio to finish it up.

I would personally recommended reading it physically if you’re able. The main reason I suggest this is because the book moves back and forth between the present and the past, something that is very difficult to tell when you’re listening to the narration. When I first started the audiobook, I thought that my confusion was just due to the narrator having a Scottish accent, but I soon discovered (after grabbing my copy to look at) that the writing style just doesn’t transfer over to audio that great. If you do want to try the Audiobook (it’s available on Scribd), I would suggest following along with the book until you get used to the switches.

In regards to the plot, Mirrorland makes great use of the unreliable narrator trope. I know that a lot of people have grown tired of it nowadays, but I think Mirrorland did it justice. Instead of making our main character Cat a beaten down and depressed drunk whom no one trusts, Johnstone instead created a character that is both fragile and strong. Cat has dealt with severe trauma for a very long time, and I was so proud of how much she grew as a result. Sure, she struggles at times with panic attacks and memory loss, but I never stopped rooting for her. And I think she never stopped rooting for herself.

If there’s one thing that I would critique about Mirrorland, it’s that I think the book tried to do a bit too much. There was a point at around 85% where I thought “isn’t this book done? how is there more??”. I then remembered that someone in our blog tour chat group mentioned that they wanted the book to end around 85% in and I think I agree. I’m a bit noncommittal about it because the last chapters had some things that I really liked, but they also had things I felt didn’t work as well as the rest of the book. I’ll have to sit on it for a while longer.

I would definitely recommend Mirrorland if you’re into adult mystery/thriller novels. If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here!

My physical copy (from my bookstagram)

Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

8 thoughts on “#TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Review: Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

  1. I can see where this story would be challenging as an audiobook. Maybe if they had different narrators for past and present but idk. And that’s a great closer look at Cat. She is such a complex character but I agree, she never gives up on herself so it’s easy to be in her corner. Wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that I thought the ending was at around 87%. I had to double check the contents and was surprised there were so many chapters left. lol However, I enjoyed the ending even if it was a bit too…well, overmuch. If that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

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