Mirrorland is a beautiful, complex and dizzying tale of sisterhood and coming to grips with the past via a rather horrifying trip through the present ... Johnstone’s storytelling is an enrapturing, gorgeous thing, and she weaves such a transcendent adult fantasy that it’s easy to sink a full day into this book. It’s an ugly, upside-down Alice in Wonderland cum We Have Always Lived in the Castle journey that’s suspenseful, repulsive and yet wonderfully alluring. I could not put it down, even when the suspense had my stomach tied in knots. It’s a spooky story, and a unique one ... Mirrorland is an incredible place to visit—but you wouldn’t want to live there. Thanks to Johnstone’s incredible sense of art, you won’t need to disappear into the cupboard under the stairs, however, to be transported.
Carole Johnstone melds intricate family dynamics into a gripping mystery with the undercurrent of a gothic novel ... The parallels between reality and the sisters' childhood world add heft to the plot ... Johnstone keeps Mirrorland character-driven as she explores the complicated connection between the sisters and Ross, whom they have known since they were kids, all of their personalities forged by trauma.
... as the pages turn and the past and present and the real and liminal alternate, readers will become as enmeshed as Ross while the girls’ two lives—one in the house (a portion of the story that’s overly long), the other after they run away—unspool to devastation. Beware: sexual and coercive abuse abound here. But there’s more to the book than psychological voyeurism. Johnstone’s twisting debut novel stands alone as one to notice, and it’s a must for fans of unreliable narrators.