The most dangerous stories are the ones we tell ourselves…
No. 36 Westeryk Road: an imposing flat-stone house on the outskirts of Edinburgh. A place 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 has turned her back on her past. But when she receives news that one sunny morning, El left harbour in her sailboat and never came back, she is forced to return to Westeryk Road; to re-enter a forgotten world of lies, betrayal and danger. Because El had a plan. She’s left behind a treasure hunt that will unearth long-buried secrets. And to discover the truth, Cat must first confront the reality of her childhood – a childhood that wasn’t nearly as idyllic as she remembers…
Mirrorland is a masterclass in unreliable narrators and merging fantasy and a psychological thriller into one book. Being a fan of both genres this really was a brilliant combination for me! I have read a few books recently where memory issues and ‘fugue’ states are brought in as what feels like very convenient plot devices - a way to keep even the narrator from fully knowing what is going on. I usually complain that these become frustrating for a reader and feel unrealistic. Mirrorland treads that fine line with perfect balance and drip feeds us just enough information to keep us hooked without frustration.
Our narrator Cat and her twin sister El lived in a fantasy to escape the world around them – flashbacks to their childhood involve Pirates, Witches and Clowns. I enjoyed learning more about both of them as characters although I did think some of the decisions that modern-day Cat was making seemed very foolish! The mechanic of revealing memories through the treasure hunt notes from El was great and the pace of the book kept me hooked throughout. I ended up finishing it in just a few sittings as I was desperate to know what had happened.
There are elements of a crime thriller in the book as well as El is missing and Cat is determined to find out what happened to her. However, if you are looking for a straightforward whodunnit thriller then be warned that is not this book. Be prepared to be confused in places but it only makes the payoff when you realise what is happening so much more impactful.
Overall Mirrorland blends fantasy with a crime thriller to make a unique and intriguing story that kept me hooked to the end. Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction & The Borough Press for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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