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…
El and Cat are identical twins throughout their childhood and youth they are very close. Brought up by their mother and grandfather until one night when they go off to find their father.
Now, after many years of separation living in the U.S.A, Cat is told that El has disappeared after going out in her sailboat one morning. Although she vowed to stay away Cat returns to Scotland, to Edinburgh, to Westeryk Road, to Mirrorland.
Cat arrives to find El’s husband distraught over her disappearance, the police are keeping in touch both by the investigating officers and the family liaison officer whilst the coastguard searches for El and her boat.
Cat knows that El is still alive – why would she be getting messages otherwise? Texts, emails and hand delivered ones. As she follows the clues being sent to her Cat begins to recall memories of their childhood.
As I fell into this fantastical world I thought I’d picked a fantasy or sci-fi book but this quickly moves into a fascinating exploration of what has happened to El, why Cat is being sent messages and what they are being sent for.
This book is a mystery wrapped in a heart wrenching conundrum and keeps you engrossed wanting to understand what happened in the past, how it is linked to El’s disappearance and how everything will resolve. It shows the power that the close relationship of twins can have enabling Cat to understand after such a long separation what happened in El’s life and what that meant with regard to their past.
Not necessarily the easiest of reads but, after my initial uncertainty, I’m glad I continued reading this extraordinary tale.
Thanks: to Rachel Quin at HarperFiction for the invite to read via NetGalley.
Publisher : The Borough Press (eBook: 1 April 2021; Hardback 15 April)
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.
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