⇒“Rotten, stinking, hated love. Love is for fools, bound for hell.” –The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James ⇐
**Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Author: Rebecca James
(3.85 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Fiction / Historic / Gothic
Publication Date: March 17, 2020, by St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 324 (Kindle version)
#TheWomanInTheMirror #WomanInTheMirror #RebeccaJames
Shadows crawl over the moors, spreading dark against dark. Their torches dance, lit from the fire at the barn. Burn her! Drown her!
Full disclosure, I read this ARC way back in March, but I’m just now getting around to reviewing it on the blog. Please do not read anything negative into my delay. Chalk it up, instead, to just being wholly and entirely distracted by Covid-19 and having to quickly relocate from my office at work to my home office around the same time as I was reading this book. But let’s get into it now…
Governess Alice Miller loves Winterbourne the moment she sees it. Towering over the Cornish cliffs, its dark corners and tall turrets promise that, if Alice can hide from her ghosts anywhere, it’s here.
And who better to play hide and seek with than twins Constance and Edmund? Angelic and motherless, they are perfect little companions.
Adopted at birth, Rachel’s roots are a mystery. So, when a letter brings news of the death of an unknown relative, Constance de Grey, Rachel travels to Cornwall, vowing to uncover her past.
With each new arrival, something in Winterbourne stirs. It’s hiding in the paintings. It’s sitting on the stairs.
It’s waiting in a mirror, behind a locked door.
There was nobody for miles around, just her, the house, and the wide sprawling sea. But she wasn’t afraid. It simply didn’t occur to her to be afraid.
Somehow that blurb doesn’t quite do this book the proper justice. It doesn’t completely make me want to grab this book and start voraciously reading – which is exactly what you should do.
I finished it in one sitting – a rarity for me with any book, even ones that I eventually rate 5 stars. The Woman in the Mirror was just that intriguing! What will sell me on a book faster than almost anything else? Atmosphere. And this book has LOADS of it!
I am different. Winterbourne knows I am different. This house is my salvation.
It’s a Gothic creeper featuring a spooky house, eerie twins, and shadowy events that can’t be explained using common sense occurring along a dual timeline (1947 and 2018). Set on the foggy Cornwell coast, this story will drag you into its dark secrets right from the prologue.
I really enjoyed this march into madness from the POV of likable, but not entirely trustworthy main characters. I was actually surprised that the book captivated me as much as it did, as quickly as it did. It was that good.
But it was our fault she ended up like that. We drove her to it. Did she really lose her mind? Or did we steal it from her?
This is the book that I really wanted The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware to be – authentically moody and creepy with an underlying ominous tone that didn’t seem forced or manufactured. It didn’t pan out for that book, but this one gives me everything I was lacking from that other reading experience. This book is a ghost story, a forbidden romance, and a witch hunt all wrapped into one deliciously tragic tale. You should definitely read it!
Rebecca James worked in publishing for several years before leaving to write full-time, and is now the author of several novels written under a pseudonym, as well as The Woman in the Mirror under her own name. Her favorite things are autumn walks, Argentinean red wine and curling up in the winter with a good old-fashioned ghost story. She lives in Bristol with her husband and two daughters. -bio from US.Macmillan.com