Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone – A Review – TheWriteReads Tour

Hi! Today is my stop on TheWriteReads tour for Mirrorland!

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone
  • Publication date:
  • Publisher: Scribner Books
  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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…

First of all, thank you to Dave at TheWriteReads and the publisher for providing me with an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am in the biggest reading and life slump at the moment, and honestly, reading hasn’t been much of a priority for me. But this book sounded really fun, and twisty, and I think thrillers are the best books to get one out of a reading slump, so I dived in hoping it’d do so for me.

Although the premise of this book isn’t anything special or unique, considering it is a debut novel, I thought the concept was fairly well thought out and still interesting. Domestic thrillers can be done in so many different ways, they don’t always have to be very unique in plot to offer something new.

From the get go the story was a little bit confusing. The way it is told, with the past and the present mixed together was disorienting at the start, but I definitely got used to it pretty fast. And the mystery was enough to keep me reading and engaged until about halfway through.

I felt very lukewarm towards all the characters. The mystery took over any character development, sadly, and I had no idea what to make of the main character, Cat, and as the story progressed, I liked her less and less. I have no problems with unlikeable characters, but when the whole story is full of them, it becomes a bit of an issue.

I found Mirrorland extremely atmospheric and quite well written, especially for the author’s first novel. So, although some things didn’t work for me, the writing and the uneasy feeling the book gave me, definitely made me want to read and find out more. But I do have to echo one thing that has made its rounds on everyone’s review, regarding the writing… what the hell is a Poirot?

I think, overall, Mirrorland was a mixed bag. It had things I enjoyed, and things I thought needed more attention. The book could’ve ended 20% earlier. The ending felt drawn out. But the mystery kept me reading and I did like the writing. Sadly, though, the reading slump is still very real.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Check out the Mirrorland and TheWriteReads hashtags to read other reviews of this book!

As always, thanks for reading! Talk soon!

One thought on “Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone – A Review – TheWriteReads Tour

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s