Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Date of publication: March 17th, 2020
Genre: General Fiction
Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.
For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.
In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.
In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.
Listen! Can you hear it?The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James
I haven’t read a good Gothic mystery in a while. A long while, now that I have had time to think about it. That was the main reason why I decided I wanted to read The Woman in the Mirror. I wanted to see if they were as good as I remembered. And guess what, they were!!!
The Woman in the Mirror had fast-moving storylines, which I enjoyed. I feel that if the storylines had been slower than the book would have dragged on. The flow of the book was good. There were no dropped storylines, but I did have a question about Alice’s pregnancy during WWII. I couldn’t quite place what happened (if she had the baby or not).
Speaking of Alice, I felt awful for her. She had some mental issues that followed her to Winterbourne. That alone made her chapters fun to read. I couldn’t tell if she was losing it because of that or if the house caused it. I loved it!!!
Rachel was a different story, though. She inherited Winterbourne from an unknown aunt (she was adopted). Rachel thought it would be a great way to see where her mother came from and see her roots. Of course, what she discovered was something way more sinister.
The paranormal/mystery was well written. I did have an issue with the whole reason why Winterbourne was cursed not being revealed until the end of the book. I also didn’t like how that storyline was resolved. It was a little too tidy. But other than that, both were wonderful. I don’t think I will look at gilded mirrors and murals the same again.
There was a small romance angle of the book. Honestly, I didn’t see it between Alice and the captain. It didn’t grab me. Mainly because of the way he treated her. Of course, that was explained away but still. It left me going, “Really?” I also didn’t see it between Jack and Rachel until the end. I could have gone without the romance, but I can see why the author wrote it in. It made what happened to Alice even more disturbing.
The end of The Woman in the Mirror was terrific. I loved how everything came together. And then there was the epilogue. I had to reread it. The way it was written and what was written!! Will there be a 2nd book?
I would give The Woman in the Mirror an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread The Woman in the Mirror. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**