Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone
(Borough Press, 2021)


by Carole Johnstone

Perhaps everyone’s childhood memories are the same: part truth, part fantasy. But this house and our mother and her stories, turned our imagination into a melting pot, a forge. A cauldron. And, I’m beginning to realise, I can trust nothing that came out of it.

No. 67 Westeryk Road, an imposing flat-stone house on the outskirts of Edinburgh, childhood home to sisters Cat and El. A house of curving shadows, crumbling grandeur and blood crimson walls. But it’s what lies under the house that is extraordinary. Every night the girls escape below the stairs to Mirrorland. A vivid make-believe world. A hidden den of imaginary pirate ships, clowns and witches. A place of escape.

Now in her thirties, Cat has turned her back on her past and fled to LA when she receives news that one sunny morning, El left harbour in her sailboat and never came back. Forced to return to Westeryk Road, a forgotten world of lies, lust, and betrayal, Cat must uncover the truth behind a secret that has been hidden for over twenty years. Because El has a plan. She’s left her sister a treasure hunt in a bid to help her remember the realities of a childhood that wasn’t what it seemed.

A sharply crafted mystery about the power of imagination and the price of freedom, with the evocative touches of Rebecca, and the poignant originality of Room. For fans of Erin Kelly’s The Poison Tree, Tana French’s The Wych Elm and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.


I loved Mirrorland. It’s dark and devious, a neo-gothic featuring twin sisters and a deeply frightening old dark house. 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
Carole Johnstone’s debut feels like the love child of Gillian Flynn and Stephen King. In Mirrorland nothing is as it appears and the kaleidoscope twists and turns will have you frantically turning the pages until you reach the gasp-out-loud ending.”
- Greer Hendricks, #1 New York Times best-selling co-author of The Wife Between Us