“Dark and devious... Beautifully written and plotted with a watchmaker’s precision.” — Stephen King
“A dark, twisty, and richly atmospheric exploration of the power of imagination” —Ruth Ware, author of One by One and The Woman in Cabin 10
With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is a thrilling work of psychological suspense about twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.
Cat lives in Los Angeles, far away from 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where she and her estranged twin sister, El, 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 36 Westeryk Road, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. The grand old house is still full of shadowy 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 in almost every room: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting...
A twisty, dark, and brilliantly crafted thriller about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom.
Cat Morgan, the narrator of Johnstone's intriguing if uneven debut, fled Scotland years ago and settled in Los Angeles. When she gets a call from Ross MacAuley, her brother-in-law, informing her that her estranged twin sister, Ellice MacAuley, has gone missing while sailing on the Firth of Forth, she returns home to Edinburgh. Cat stays at the house where she and El grew up and shared an imaginary world they called Mirrorland, a place where they could escape the grim realities of their childhood, which included physical and emotional abuse. Cat decides she must immerse herself once more in Mirrorland if she's to solve the mystery of El's disappearance. Cat's quest is complicated by her belief that El is not dead, her receipt of anonymous notes warning her to leave, and the rekindling of her complex relationship with Ross. Johnstone skillfully juxtaposes Mirrorland against the real world, but El is seen only through Cat's unreliable eyes, and their relationship is so confused that the reader may wonder how much of what Cat says about El is true. This ambitious blend of psychological suspense and horror casts a powerful light on the liberating power of imagination. \n