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The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  343 ratings  ·  57 reviews
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 a
Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: March 17th 2020 by Minotaur Books (first published 2018)
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  • The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca  James
    The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel
    Release date: Mar 17, 2020
    A family haunted by secrets. A manor shrouded in shadow. Enter for your chance to win an early copy!

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    Giveaway dates: Nov 04 - Nov 17, 2019

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    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.91  · 
    Rating details
     ·  343 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    DNF around 50%!

    I've tried for several days to finish the audio version of this book, but I just can't find myself taking to the story. Today was at least the third time I tried to listen to it, but I find myself almost depressed with the thought of listening to it. So, now I'm giving up and I will pick something else to listen to!
    Cindy Burnett
    Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I am loving the continued revival of gothic tales following the success of The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware and The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths- two fabulous books that you should read if you haven’t yet. One of my favorite new additions to the genre is The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James - it’s deliciously creepy and so much fun to read. If you like a good solid ghost story with a definite gothic feel- this is the book for you.
    Joanna Park
    Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Ooh I do love a dark creepy book and The Woman In The Mirror definitely ticked both of those boxes.

    From the start the book is incredibly atmospheric, especially when it comes to the eerie descriptions of the house.  The air almost crackles with mystery and feels weighed down with all the secrets the house holds.  The reader is given the sense that anything can happen at any moment which made me quite jumpy at times.  This is definitely a book to read with lots of people about and the
    Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Full review posted here:

    Cornwall. Gothic mansion. Governess. Handsome tormented master. Overly angelic children. All the cliches of Gothic fiction are in abundance in The Woman in the Mirror, and this is no bad thing. The dramatic clifftops, the roaring tides, the crumbling country house all create a world so intense that you're constantly on edge. From Charlotte Bronte to Henry James, Du Maurier to Susan Hill, all the influences are easy to spot, creating a rich tapestry of Gothic hor
    I started reading this on paperback and then switches to the audiobook version halfway through.

    Well this has been a truly dark tale of a story which was all consuming and quite creepy/chilling in equal measures. The story of which just draws you in and swallows you whole.

    It's a story that has dual timelines of present day 2018 and the past in 1947, set around a gothic mansion called Winterbourne that was built on the 1800 hundreds literally on the wild cliffs edge with roaring sea w
    This book is not memorable in any way. It is just good if you want to read something easy, slightly creepy that doesn’t ask for any thinking.
    J.A. Ironside
    This was an oddly frustrating book. I found it compelling enough to keep me turning pages and I rather enjoyed the Gothic aspects of it, but I had a problem with the two (or three if you count the dead) female protagonists. I like dual narrative fiction especially if one or both are set historically. But neither of them quite came off for me, unfortunately. I’ll go into why in a moment.


    In the present day, gallery owner, Rachel Wright, has always felt rejected by life on
    Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    The Woman In The Mirror by Rebecca James... wow, just wow! What an amazing, gripping story of passion and an obsession that will not let go. The story has dual timelines of present day and 1947. It keeps the reader hooked from the start.
    The house in the story seems to have its own personality. It draws characters in before consuming then.
    Set in Cornwall, the novel is very reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. I kept being reminded of the line "last night I dreamt of Mandelay."
    Helen Carolan
    Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I do love my Gothic so this was enjoyable. 1947 Alice Miller arrives at crumbling mansion Winterbourne to look after the twins of captain De Grey. But the house and it's occupants are in a bad way. The captain still grieves for his dead wife and the children are plagued by images only they can see. As time passes Alice finds her grip on reality slipping as she is overcome by the houses brooding atmosphere. Present day Cornwall adopted Rachel is stunned to be left an old mansion by an aunt she ne ...more
    Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I read the synopsis for this book and I was immediately intrigued. I knew that this was one book that I was definitely going to have to read. When I picked the book up I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I decided to just go with the flow and see what happened. I am so glad that I did because I absolutely loved reading this slightly dark and mysterious book but more about that in a bit.
    I really felt for the character of Rachel. She is an orphan who is working at her own art gallery in t
    Cheryl M-M
    Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    The story has echoes of the classics, it has a distinct feel of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, which is especially evident in the writing and the first few chapters.

    The story ventures into three periods in time beginning with the woman who goes on to influence the paths of quite a few women in Winterbourne, and not in a good way. Her presence is felt in the area and in the house. A nefarious essence lurking in every corner, every swirl of mist and each drop of water in the cold murky sea. ...more
    Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    A good Gothic read

    This was truly a gothic novel. The huge overpowering house on the Cornish Bluff "Winterbourne" sits in the shadows keeping its secrets hidden inside.

    The story goes from the governess Alice Miller in 1947 to Rachel in present days. Rachel grew up adopted and always wondered about her beginnings and her birth mother.

    One day after she has grown and is on her own with her own Art Gallery, a letter comes informing her that she has been left a property called
    Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This is a book set in two time periods. We have 1947 when Alice Miller goes to remote Winterbourne in Cornwall to be a governess to twins. In the modern Day we have career driven Rachel who is going to Cornwall to see a legacy she has received from an unknown relative.

    I found this book to be a mediocre ghost story. I could see far too many ghosts of other author's work - primarily Henry James' "Turn of the Screw" and Susan Hill. There are also echoes through other less well known gho
    Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
    First gripping sentence:

    𝑳𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒏! 𝑪𝒂𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒊𝒕?

    𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘞𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘔𝘪𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘳 by Rebecca James is an unnerving gothic tale with an insidious creepy atmosphere that drew me in to the book very quickly.

    A dark tale told in several narrative’s, past and present, it centers around the Winterbourne mansion and those that lived there. In 1947, Alice Miller takes a governess position for Captain De Grey, looking after his twins. Winterbourne seems to feed on the grief and loneliness o
    Kerry Bratton
    Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This is a beautiful, hauntingly moving story, as we are transported between Winterbourne past and present. While the house itself remains still throughout the passing of time, it carefully draws in its victims. For some strange reason, I find myself more freaked by Winterbourne 1947 storyline, the strange happenings, that involve the twins. Alice's whole outlook changing from a confident young woman to second-guessing herself and gradually being controlled by the past.
    The present-day Winterbour
    Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I do enjoy a bit of gothic fiction and The Woman In The Mirror ticked all the boxes with it also being a dual time frame novel.
    Apart from the prologue all the of the novel takes place in either 1947 or 2018. Both women, whose connection is initially unclear both have had to rebuild their lives after suffering a devastating loss. That is their only similarity though, Rachel is much more independent than Alice and a lot more likeable.
    Whilst Alice did suffer from the events that occurre
    Rebecca Hill
    Hauntingly beautiful....

    When Rachel inherits a home in England, she is not sure what to think. She has often wondered about her family, and the elusive house seems to hold more mysteries than answers. As Rachel travels to England to learn more about her family and past, she is swept into the harsh past and the dangers that the house holds, but there seems to be more lurking than just unanswered questions...

    What a beautiful story! I sat and read this in one sitt
    Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    In my teens I loved Gothic mystery and that was the reason, I picked this book, I wanted to return to my roots. An old house in Cornwall, sold me and I was not disappointed.
    Present day, Rachel adopted at birth, has no knowledge of her real roots until one day she inherits Winterbourne from Constance De Grey. Rachel is soon mesmerised by the old house and the secrets it keeps.
    1947 Alice Miller becomes governess to the De Grey children, soon she falls in love with the house, the childr
    Hannelore Cheney
    Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the eARC.
    A really good gothic novel, I finished this book in a day, giving myself a was worth it!
    Taking place in the present as well as 1947, the main character in the story is a mansion, Winterbourne, built in the 1800's in Cornwall.
    The De Grey family seems to be cursed, causing 2 suicides, an the incarceration of a governess in a mental hospital, all the while haunting the people who live in Winterbourne. It also feature
    Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
    This is an eerie book switching from 1947 to present day. The author describes the creepy gothic house with a flare that had me shivering and wanting a light turned on. The characters are quite dark and haunting, making the hair on my arms stand on end. While this book seems like a story of obsession and love it is actually a book of ghosts and possession. When Alice took the job as governess she saw it as a start of a new life but things quickly changed as unexplained things started to happen. ...more
    Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Do you know, I really enjoyed this. I wouldn't say it's an air-tight plot, and the final chapter plus epilogue is a bit much, but I see where the author is going with it.

    I enjoyed both of the time-frames, 1947 (ish) and 2018, though I identified with Rachel more (however, you know, sans a gallery and very large paycheck) in that she seemed a bit stronger and a little less sycophantic than Alice, but overall they were both interesting characters.

    I think a bit more back sto
    Rebecca Minnock
    Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Flitting from 1947 to the present day, "The Woman in the Mirror" is one of the best gothic novels I have read for a long time.

    Winterbourne House, atop the cliffs overlooking the sea in Cornwall, England, is a gothic mansion with a long history. Women living in the house are driven mad by an unseen force that seems to be the house itself lashing out.

    Wonderfully atmospheric, James's writing gave me goosebumps on more than one occasion. I felt like I was in Winterbourne Hous
    Anna Jones
    May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    A haunting suspense

    I enjoyed this story of haunting and suspense, feeling captivated by the idea of the past seeping into the present characters' lives. At times however it felt a little complex to read due to the similarity of characters, also the stories seemed to blend into each other and with the switching of time period in each chapter, it felt a little difficult to distinguish between them at times. The image of Winterbourne and the atmosphere was described well and with great vivacity. I
    A dark, foreboding house high on a cliff top in Cornwall. Into this comes Alice in 1947 after leaving her boring job in austere London to be a governess to adorable twins. Present day Rachel inherits the house. Loved this sinister tale which starts with a blood curdling curse, strange objects, hero’s and villains and lots of creepy goings on. Sent one or two shivers down my spine! Very gothic, atmospheric book best read in front of a log fire when it’s dark outside. Excellent story and can highl ...more
    Maggie Gust
    Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
    This was a nice read. Not very exciting and it was pretty obvious how it was all going to play out. The author is a very good writer - her vocabulary is fabulous and she is very descriptive in her character and event development. I actually enjoyed her use of language more than the story itself. I would say give it a go because it is a pleasant way to pass some time on the beach or snuggled up on a couch during a winter evening. I will definitely be interested in any future book by Rebecca James ...more
    I Read, Therefore I Blog
    Rebecca James’s gothic horror novel has some tense scenes and nicely nods at THE TURNING OF THE SCREW but while I enjoyed the 1947 storyline with Alice’s increasingly fragile mental state, the 2018 love triangle was a little clumsy, the central curse storyline never really convinced me and there were too many unanswered questions about the twins while the twist ending didn’t ring true given that Rachel knew what the curse was attached to.
    Lady Delacour
    This story switches
    from Past to Present.
    For fun I read the
    past chapters first,
    then the present ones.
    It made the book into
    two mysteries that still
    blended well together.
    Will do it again sometime.
    Also enjoyed catching the
    the nods to other books.
    A book club reading this,
    could have fun seeing
    how many they could find.
    3 Entertaining Stars.
    Listened with TTS.
    Some Mild Foul Language.
    Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    The literary influence of some of my favourite gothic novels (The Turn of the Screw, The Woman in Black, Rebecca and Jane Eyre) are transparently obvious in this book. It did feel somewhat derivative but it was a thoroughly enjoyable holiday read that was surprisingly creepy in places. An quick and entertaining read with a good ending.
    Cathe Olson
    Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Engrossing gothic story alternating between different time periods--but centered on the cursed women of Winterbourne. There were parts that didn't make a whole lot of sense but it was a enjoyably creepy story.
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    Goodreads Librari...: Pseudonyms 3 18 Oct 21, 2019 02:51AM  
    Rebecca James is the author of BEAUTIFUL MALICE, SWEET DAMAGE and the forthcoming COOPER BARTHOLOMEW IS DEAD. She has worked as a waitress, a kitchen designer, an English teacher in both Indonesia and Japan, a barmaid, and (most memorably) a mini-cab telephone-operator in London. Rebecca lives in Canberra, Australia, with her partner and their four sons.
    “Love. Rotten, stinking, hated love. Love is for fools, bound for hell. I detest its creeping treacheries. I resent the shell it made of me. My weakness to be wanted, my pathetic, throbbing heart…” 0 likes
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