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The Mirror

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  3,844 Ratings  ·  548 Reviews
"On the eve of wedding in 1978, Shay Garrett peers into the antique mirror in her family's longtime home, the famous Victorian Gingerbread House on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado, and falls unconscious only to wake in the body of her own grandmother Brandy on the eve of her wedding--in 1900. The virginal Brandy, in turn, awakes in Shay's body to discover herself pregnan ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 12th 1982 by Fawcett (first published 1978)
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Donna Everhart I've had this book for decades (I have the hardcover) and the first time I read it, I absolutely LOVED it. No horror that I recall. It wasn't funny…moreI've had this book for decades (I have the hardcover) and the first time I read it, I absolutely LOVED it. No horror that I recall. It wasn't funny either, it was simply a fascinating read. You might have read it by now, but I saw this conversation and thought I'd stick my two cents in since it was one of my favorite books for a long time.(less)
Robyn very . Get some tissues though

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is perhaps my favorite book of all time. I discovered it through rather unusual circumstances. While working for an eye doctor in Boulder, Colorado, I met the author who was a patient of ours. When I learned that she was a published author, I started searching used book stores for some of her works and came across a first edition paperback of this book. I finished it in just a few days and was fortunate enough to have the author sign it for me during a follow-up visit to our office. I have ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser tells the strange but original tale of four generations of woman from 1900 to 1978-79 and how their lives are interwoven and complicated by the machinations of an evil mirror.

Shay Garrett and her grandmother Brandy McCabe are switched, mentally and physically on the eve of their respective wedding day, though the ceremonies are separated by over seven decades. Far from being a comedy spun and packaged by Disney producers (although there are some humorous scenes) t
4.5 Stars

THE unsightly antique MIRROR is evil and often deadly, and within its reflection, Marlys Millhiser brings to life an electrifying time-travel story.

...The journey begins in 1978, but quickly reverts to 1900 after Shay Garrett innocently examines the freaky heirloom she receives as a bridal gift and unknowingly causes the entire Gingerbread House to tremble, Shay to faint, and grandmother and granddaughter to trade places right on the eve of their respective weddings.

...Both disillusione

Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I want you to think about the next time you see your grandmother how it would be if you would wake up in her body when she was young and then have to marry your own grandfather and give birth to your mother. That's sounds quite insane I know, but that is what happened to Shay Garrett in this book. She wakes up in the year 1900, in her grandmother Brandy McCabe's body.

This book cured me of any romantic notion about time-travel. I don't know what's worse going back in time having to live your gran
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This is probably one of the best books to me that I've read. I loved it. Time travel done the best ever. History and love but not overly mushy.
Most of her stories are available on Kindle but they are also available to read (free!) on If you are looking for something for your Halloween challenge, sign up now.

Sadly, I recently read that the author passed away in 2017. "The Mirror was Mrs. Millhiser's most famous book, one that was so popular with readers that it was one of the most frequently stolen books at public libraries. Several readers have even commented that they named their children after characters in
Shannon Lanier
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Ive read at at least a dozen times over the years. I borrowed it from the lirary one day(long ago :) and was about a dozen pages in when the author had me hooked. I rushed right out and bought the book, knowing nothing about the rest of the book. I hardly EVER do that! The book is definitely different, but unique enough to stand on its own. I finished this book in one day and while I give it 5 stars and stand behind it, I feel as if the ending could ...more
Althea Ann
It's not, quite, but this book has a bit of the feel of one of those 'gothic' romances that were popular in the 1970's.

It's a time-travelling saga of how a cursed mirror twists the lives of the women of one family.

In 1978, Shay Garrett is on the verge of marriage to a wealthy and handsome man. But when she looks into a family-heirloom mirror, she suddenly finds herself in the body of her grandmother - in 1900. To her shock, she's still on the verge of a wedding - now, to a man she's never met.
May 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid 3, which means nothing earth shattering but I read it through with a great deal of enjoyment, and even *gasp* some thought! The writing itself is a far cry from "litrature" but the characters were interesting and likable. And I don't know about you, but I've always been suspicious about mirrors, especially when I was a kid - there's definitely a Twilight Zone mystique about them. Ya know, the whole "into another world" possibility. And scary thoughts, what if I don't see my refle ...more
This is a remarkable book, one that I had never heard of until a few weeks ago. The plot of the story revolves around a mysterious antique mirror and two young women about to be married. A granddaughter and her grandmother, separated by 75 years, both looking into the strange mirror just prior to their weddings, and then the impossible happens; they switch places, slipping into the others bodies. How do they cope, being in another body not familiar to them, living in a time that seems almost ali ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Roxy by: Holli
I throughly enjoyed this book. It was not your average time travel or transportation book in my opinion. I enjoyed the way it was broken in to sections to see things from a different characters point of view.

I was, however, throughly disappointed by the end of the book. About half way through the last section it began to read like the author ran out of steam. She could have done so much more in this section and even had the details to do but opted to keep it boring. The last section of the book
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

This reprint (manner of speaking) of a 1978 novel was definitely interesting to read, although I confess not having paid enough attention at first when it came to the original publishing date... and was confused in the beginning. But that's not fault of the book's, only mine.

The story weaves the lives of Shay and Brandy, the first being the latter's granddaughter. A mysterious mirrors switches their minds in time, forcing Sh
Will be re-reading this one soon for NetGalley.
I have good memories of it, which is why I requested it for review.
I wonder if my opinion of it will change after 33 years?
I'll let you know...
I've had this on my wishlist for years, and my husband was kind enough to give it to me for my birthday. I've spent the past 2 days completely lost in it. I'm surprised it's not more popular, but maybe it was when it was first printed in 1978.

The story is basically about a grandmother and granddaughter who switch places in body and time when they look into a mirror that each of them received on their wedding days in different times. At this point, the story moves chronologically from past to pre
Oct 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was the oddest time travel story that I've ever stumbled upon. Split between 1978 and1900, a mysterious mirror handed down from generation to generation causes a grandmother and granddaughter to switch bodies and adjust to different time periods. Freaky Friday, anyone?

The bulk of the book concentrates on granddaughter, Shay, living in her grandmother's time. This was my favorite section of the book because it spans years as Shay remains in her grandmother's body throughout marriage a
Karen Witzler
Remembered and was describing the plot of this odd supernatural thriller from 1978 to my daughter while discussing the new Studio Ghibli movie about Marnie.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love this book! I re-read it about once a month. I came upon it by accident when I was at my local library years ago. The spine of the hardcover edition caught my eye. I pulled the book down and read the summary and was instantly hooked. I checked it out and by the time I reached chapter 20 I was on amazon ordering a copy for myself. THAT'S how good this book is because I never do that.

Another perk of the book for me was that its dealt with history and time travel, both massive inte
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: time-travel
This was the first time travel book I read as a young woman. It touched me in such a strong way. To see that a life could be lived that belonged to your own grandmother was just amazing to me.
I always wanted to live in the time period of my grandmother, so I could see how uncomfortably strangely fascinating that would be.

I need to read this again to remember the excellency of it all. I do remember the feelings it evoked, if not every word that was written.
Ange H
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
****. SPOILER ALERT *****

This was a really strange book - sort of "Back to the Future" meets "Freaky Friday." The premise was fascinating but the story was unevenly written. At first the whole timeline didn't make sense to me, until I realized that it was published in the 70's - and this also made me wonder if the author was maybe enjoying some herbal refreshment at the time.

It's hard to even explain this crazy plot but I will make an attempt. A mysterious, evil Chinese mirror has been around f
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite time travel book from over 50 plus years of compulsive reading. And time travel in any genre is in my top three of preference scenarios. Along with immigrant stories and travelogue.

Perhaps this one actually combines all three?

Everytime I floss my teeth I think of this book.

So many books written today that are classified historical fiction are, even when excellent, in some or most part of detail or thought patterns, revisionist to a 21st century value or agenda.

This one wasn'
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OMG! I just finished this book again for the third time. I always remember that Shay and her Grandmother look into a mirror at the same time the night before their wedding days. Shay 1978 Brandy 1900. They switch bodies and live out each other's lives and have little episode where they can see what each is doing at random times, but I ALWAYS forget the wonderful story details. I'm glad I own this book. I would recommend it for everyone. I just love it.
Mary  (Biblophile)
One of my all-time favorite books that I first read as young woman. The story of a young woman who on the eve of her wedding views herself in an old antique mirror and suddenly finds herself in the body of her grandmother. A hard to put down read as it captures your imagination and sometimes boggles your mind. A must read for those who love the unusual.
Jackie forrestal
This is a book I remember reading when I was a young girl. I loved the book then and just recently wanted to get it for my children to read. It's one you can't put down, I'm not much for fantasy books but this one was a wonderful one. I think everyone needs to read this, I know I'm going to go out and get it tomorrow......
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite, romance
This is a time-travel romance that I read as a teenager that I re-read every chance I get. The story revolves around the granddaughter switching places with her grandmother on the eve on her wedding...
I really loved this book. Whoopie-twang! Recommended by both my mother and Alison Thurman. I can't recommend this book enough!
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, favorites
I didn't want to put this book down. A beautifully written story spanning generations of a family. All of the characters were so clearly developed and likeable.
Ruth E. R.
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my complete review yet:
The first book in a long while that I could not put down until I'd finished (and put off as many necessities as possible in order to keep going with the book). Excellent! One of the best time travel stories because the times as described and characters as developed were so authentic. Nothing pretentious or overly sentimental. No "agenda ," but just a great story. Perfectly paced.
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booksburgh
This was an interesting time travel book, with grandmother and granddaughter switching bodies on the eve of their weddings. Learning about Colorado in the early 1900s was educational. Rather than choosing to go back and forth with Shay and Brandy, most of the book is about Shay in Brandy's body, with a brief interlude with Rachel as the focus.

The flow was further interrupted for me by the way Millhiser felt she had to constantly remind us that it was Shay in Brandy's body or vice versa. It woul
I wasn't sure at the onset that I would be as crazy about this book as so many female readers before me have been, but this book really quite surprised me.

Two women on the cusp of their pending nuptials, both 20 years old, find themselves looking into an old wedding mirror that has been handed down in their family through many generations. Suddenly Brandy McCabe finds herself trapped in the pregnant body of her granddaughter Shay Garret and Shay finds herself, likewise, trapped in the body of he
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved that there was a more "adult" version of my favorite childhood book called Stranger in the Mirror by Lynn Beach. I quickly read through the first two parts in less than a day and was anxiously waiting to read part III which was the section on Brandy. Unfortunately it just was plain weird to me. I'm not sure if it was because I couldn't relate to 1978 as "the future," or because the whole scenario of Brandy/Shay spending all of that time with the crazy weirdo in a farm house. Like ...more
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Time Travel: THE MIRROR: General Discussion (*spoilers*) 29 137 Dec 16, 2015 06:17PM  
The Mirror 20 90 Nov 01, 2015 07:28PM  
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Marlys Millhiser is an American author of fifteen mysteries and horror novels. Born in Charles City, Iowa, Millhiser originally worked as a high school teacher. She has served as a regional vice president of the Mystery Writers of America and is best known for her novel The Mirror and for the Charlie Greene Mysteries. Millhiser lived in Boulder, Colorado.
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“The Gingerbread House sat sullenly in the downpour.” 2 likes
“So don't try to scare me with your phony Lord business. I wonder if you men don't trump up all that religious stuff to keep women in line.” 1 likes
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