Cover image for The woman in the mirror
Title:
The woman in the mirror
ISBN:
9781250230058
Edition:
First U.S. Edition.
Physical Description:
351 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published in Great Britain by HQ, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, Ltd. in 2018.
Summary:
"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"--
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Summary

Summary

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. Enshrouded by fog and enveloped by howling winds, the imposing edifice casts a darkness over the town.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after twin children Constance and Edmund for their widower father, Captain Jonathan de Grey. 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.

There is only one true mistress of Winterbourne. She will not tolerate any woman who dares to cross its threshold and call it home. Those who do will only find a reflection of their own wicked sins and an inherited vengeance.


Author Notes

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.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

James's haunting, if flawed, debut centers on a mysterious manor, Winterbourne Hall, on the coast of Cornwall. In 1947, Alice Miller arrives at the house as a governess to care for the twin children of Jonathan de Grey, a moody and handsome widower who was injured during WWII. At first, Alice thinks of the placement as idyllic, but as she learns more about the family, she discovers deep and disturbing secrets. The house seems to come alive, too, and the spirits that inhabit it want her gone. Meanwhile, in the present day, New Yorker Rachel Wright, who was adopted and never knew her birth family, is surprised to learn of an inheritance from unknown English relatives--ruined Winterbourne Hall. After she arrives in Cornwall, Rachel becomes enthralled by the house and its history. Unfortunately, the plot stumbles with a too neat ending involving characters who arrive late to the story. Until then, the author maintains a scary and atmospheric mood, and the descriptions of the house and the surrounding landscape are stunning. Readers will be eager to see what James does next. Agent: Madeline Milburn, Madeline Milburn Literary (U.K.). (Mar.)


Booklist Review

Winterbourne looms over the Cornish cliffs with its turrets and gargoyles creating dark corners and even darker secrets. Alternating between present day and 1947, the stories of two women and their obsessions with Winterbourne and all its mysteries ultimately link them over time. Atmospheric and gloomy Winterbourne tends to enrapture the women that step into its halls. In 1947, Alice Miller is the governess to the family that resides there. The longer Alice stays, the more enchanted she gets with the notion that she could be the woman of the house. But someone, or something, does not want her interfering with the household. In the present day, Rachel is brought to Winterbourne through an inheritance from a family that she never knew. She is curious to discover her family history and where she came from. Both women experience the darkness that resides in the home and find that objects that are hidden within are better left alone. This thrilling gothic endeavor keeps the pages turning with tense scenes and lush depictions.--Emily Borsa Copyright 2020 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Winterbourne Hall is a large, imposing manor in Cornwall, England. In 1947, Alice Miller is the family's newest governess, charged with taking care of two children, Constance and Edmund de Gray, who are still grieving the loss of their mother, Laura. When Alice discovers a painting in which the subjects do not remain static and an old mirror that beckons her, she turns to Jonathan, the children's enigmatic father, for answers. His counsel is misleading, and Alice finds herself on an unexpected path. Meanwhile, Rachel Wright, a gallery curator in modern-day New York, learns that she is a descendant of the de Grays. She heads to the estate and discovers the same painting and that wonderfully seductive mirror that has been ignored for ages. Determined to solve the mystery of her heritage, Rachel learns that more than one entity has a claim to her inheritance. VERDICT James (Sweet Damage, Beautiful Malice) pens a delectably creepy tale. If Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre had a baby, it would be this well-crafted Victorian gothic mystery.--Tina Panik, Avon Free P.L., CT