The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel

The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel

by Rebecca James


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250230058
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/17/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 61,368
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

The Woman In The Mirror 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
LauraInLiteraryLand 1 days ago
This book definitely packs the creep factor! I was outside of my normal reading genres with this Gothic thriller but I enjoyed it! The novel takes place on the Cornwall coast which has such rich, intense vibes on its own. Winterbourne Hall is a giant, old, ancestral home filled with history and mysterious echoes from the past. Alice and Rachel's lives intersect through the de Grey family story and the house itself and I found the stories of both women fascinating. This novel moved at a slower pace than many of the thrillers I'm used to but the puzzles, twists, and ominous threads of the story pulled me along. I reread the Prologue after finishing the book which pulled everything together. What a frightening, yet delightful adventure through Winterbourne Hall! Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
AllysonC 3 days ago
Thank you to Netgalley, the Publisher and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion. This was a great gothic novel; creepy, dark and eerie. I liked this one right from the start, in 1806 when an unknown woman is running for the shore with a crowd chanting witch and chasing her down. a woman who thought she was loved and is so heartbroken, betrayed and angered. Then we flash between 1946 as Alice takes a job as a governess at Winterbourne, an eerie, old estate on the cliff-side, looking after two precocious, creepy twins and the present, when Rachel, who was adopted discovers that an unknown great Aunt, Constance de Grey has left her an estate. Rachel jumps at the chance to discover who she is and finds more than she bargained for. I felt for these women, in their struggles for a new life, they both seemed damaged and you cannot outrun yourself. Alice was already a little broken inside, she just wants to feel loved and to belong, she feels accepted by the children and feels like the house wants her there; Rachel has always wanted to know who her family was; these womens lives are interlaced by a history that escapes definition. Is Winterbourne cursed, is there a malevolent spirit involved, or is there something wring with the de Grey family? How many lives will this tale cost and can things be put right? This book made me think of some great gothic mysteries, it has that feel, the type of book you think about when it's dark and when the fog rolls in.
MLyons 3 days ago
f you like true Gothic novels, you should enjoy this one and will not be disappointed. Reminiscent of novels such as Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and The Turn of the Screw, it has many traditional Gothic components: an eerie, isolated, crumbling mansion on the clifftops of Cornwall; a governess who deals with a handsome but injured and tormented master; and angelic but mischievous children. The novel alternates between 1947, when Alice Miller goes to remote Winterbourne to be a governess to twins, and the present day, when art gallery owner Rachel goes to Cornwall to visit the mansion and property she has inherited from a previously unknown relative. Overall, the novel delivers a very interesting story in the Gothic tradition. Although I found a few occurrences stretching the concept of “the willing suspension of disbelief,” I really enjoyed the novel. It was a perfect winter’s read and a nice delve into the Gothic!
Anonymous 4 days ago
Successful city girl Rachel is happily living on her own in New York when she receives a letter. Although Rachel was adopted, it seems that she’s inherited some property by her birth family. The catch? It’s in Cornwall. Oh, and it’s haunted. I thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth storyline between Rachel in the present, and Alice as the nanny at “Winterbourne Hall.” I loved the suspense, the old-fashioned gothic influence, really everything about it. With most of the books I’ve read lately, this one also tries to pull one last twist in the final pages. Not necessary (in fact, it detracts a bit for me), but the book itself is work a read! Special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
BabyDee 5 days ago
Rebecca James is a new author to this reader and hardly ever read gothic or dark thrillers. However, “The Woman in the Mirror" is a very creative and compelling story that captured my attention to the very end. The plot and scenery described were exceptional...i.e., the cliffside manor and moors. The author manages to draw the reader into the story from beginning to end. I got a feel of uneasiness and a bit of fear when reading which was excellent and what I thought was necessary to keep me captivated. The transition between the timelines were easy and I didn’t have a problem following. Overall, this is typically not my cup of reading tea but somehow managed to be a nice comfy read for me.
CarolP 6 days ago
An eerie story of Alice Miller who comes to be governess to Constance and Edmund, children of a Captain who lost his wife. Meanwhile, in present day, Rachel is working on her gallery in NY when she gets a letter about an inheritance abroad. Rachel is adopted and wants to learn more of her biological heritage, so she goes investigating...
Ashcclapp 6 days ago
This made for a perfect winter read, with a gothic horror plot lines that keeps it mild enough for readers that are highly sensitive but keeps the suspense high enough to keep less sensitive readers interested throughout. Told through alternating timelines with a main one taking place in 1947 and the other taking place in present day, the author does a great job at using this device to unfurl the spooky history of the Winterbourne estate. I could've done without the romance storyline in the storyline being told in the past as it seemed like a missed opportunity to add an element to the history of instability that females face within the walls of the house. The present day romance was understated and executed much better, with better character development and a more believable pace. Overall I really enjoyed this book and look forward to recommending it to fellow fans of gothic horror. The reasoning behind the haunting was extremely satisfying and the addition of the epilogue at the end was a very smart move and really brought kept the suspense up through the very last page. I am very happy to see a work such as this being released and look forward to reading more from this author! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Annette5151 6 days ago
This book reminded me so much of the old books by Phylis Whitney and Mary Stewart. It has that gothic feel to it. It was a hard to put down book, it was spooky good!! I loved it! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy
PatriciaFairweatherRomero 9 days ago
They wanted her land. She didn't want to give it. He made her fall in love with him. And then he labelled her a witch. She can hear the horses coming. She knows he has betrayed her. But if she is to die, it will be on her own terms and heaven help Ivan de Grey's family and the cursed land where he will build his enormous Gothic home, Winterbourne Hall. On the bluff overlooking the sea, where once a woman had lived, loved and died. And so it stood in Cornwall in isolation, looking gloomy and slightly scary. In 1947, Alice Miller is living in London but can't wait to get away. Memories of horrible things haunt her. When she sees the advert about a governess position at Winterbourne, she jumps at the chance. Her job will be to care for Captain Jonothan de Grey's children. Twins, a boy and a girl, 8 years old and motherless.  Alice falls in love with the children as well as their father. The children seem to adore her but when they start behaving alarmingly like little demons and turn on her she is suspicious. The house seems to be cursed. When her one night with her boss leaves her pregnant and half-crazed, Jonothan tells her they are going to Paris. He drops her off with the nuns and hopes she will be safe there.  In the present day, Rachel Wright, just opening her gallery has also just received a letter for solicitors that her Aunt Constance has died and left Winterbourne and everything to her, her niece. Rachel is stunned. She was adopted as an infant and has been searching for her mother for a long time. She sees this as a chance to find out what happened to her mother and who was her father? The answers she finds are alarming and sad. The house itself is dark and foreboding and you just know there is a dead body or two waiting to be found! There are multiple timelines here. And we hear Alice's and Rachel's and someone or something else. Something malicious that wants them all to die. Rachel gets answers and decides to stay in Winterbourne. After all, they have destroyed the mirror and the house does seem lighter, but you can bet this isn't the end! The timelines were a bit much but looking back, it was the only way the story could be told. And Oh what a story it is! A good old fashioned ghost story! Witches, Curses, Women driven mad, Scary Children, I would say this one had it all! NetGalley/March 17th, 2020 by Minotaur Books
whatsbetterthanbooks 9 days ago
Intense, sinister, and mystical! In this debut novel by James, The Woman in the Mirror, she transports us to the rugged cliffside of Cornwall, England during 1947, as well as present-day, and into a family manor where powerful emotions swirl, tragic memories reside, and long-buried skeletons and secrets are in abundance. The prose is ominous and dark. The characters are complex, lonely, and troubled, with the setting, Winterborne Hall, being a character itself with its dereliction and isolation. And the plot told from alternating timelines is a gripping, suspenseful tale full of familial drama, heartache, tension, obsession, death, revenge, cruelty, desperation, and violence, all interwoven with a sliver of the supernatural. Overall, The Woman in the Mirror is a gothic, atmospheric, eerie tale that captivates from the very first page and ultimately leaves you chilled, mystified, and entertained.
Anonymous 11 days ago
London - 1947 Alice Miller works as a solicitor’s secretary. She has applied for and been offered the position of governess to the twin 8-year-old children, of Captain Jonathan De Grey, named Edmund and Constance, at Winterbourne in Cornwall. The estate sits atop an isolated bluff next a sheer drop off. Alice is the third governess to be hired in a few weeks time. The home is very old, dark, crumbling, and with very few servants. The Captain had been injured and walks with a cane. Alice fits right in and loves the children. She is also very intrigued by the Captain. Present Day - New York Rachel Wright is the Founder and Director of the Square Peg Gallery. She has worked very hard for months to prepare for the opening and is thrilled. She has been secretly seeing Aaron Grewal, a multi-millionaire. When she receives a letter from a solicitor in England, she is intrigued. It appears that her Aunt Constance has died leaving her the sole heir to Winterbourne. Rachel was adopted and has always longed to learn about her birth parents and thus, she packs up and heads to England. At Winterbourne, Rachel finds a huge home filled with secrets. Not one to run from things, she immediately starts investigating old letters and other papers in the house. With the help of a local, she learns more about the history of the place and the frightening tales about it. It appears that the women who have inhabited Winterbourne over the years have been very strong, but have they also have been cursed? Was there truly a witch? This is a spooky tale that will also pull at your heartstrings as you read the stories of these doomed women. What a fascinating read! I just could not put it down. Loved it! Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
nataliaramlal21 11 days ago
For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop of a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall. In 1947, Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey's two children. When she arrives, she immediately falls in love with the house, the children, and the Captain. But then sinister things start happening to Alice. And the twins' adoration becomes almost hateful and they start believing that Alice is not to be trusted. As the weeks go by, the manor seems to be turning on her, it resents her and is clouding her judgment. Or is it? Can we trust Alice, a girl with a damaged past? In present-day New York, Artist Rachel Wright learns that Captain Jonathan de Grey was her grandfather, and she's now the heir to Winterbourne. Rachel, who was adopted as an infant, travels to Cornwall to learn more about her identity. But what she finds is a horrible legacy that has haunted the de Grey family for over two hundred years. The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James is a gripping Gothic story of love, obsession, and madness. Set in the rural Cornish countryside, the story's foreboding atmosphere quickly drew me in and held my interest until the last page. The story switches between the two timelines and is told from the perspectives of Alice and Rachel. I found Alice to be a very likable character. The author does a brilliant job of making the reader question Alice's sanity and making you feel like you're going crazy right along with her. I really didn't care for Rachel's character in the beginning but warmed to her as the story progressed. With each chapter, more dark secrets come to light and the tension and suspense slowly build until we finally get some answers to the Winterbourne house. Is it haunted, or is there something wrong with the de Grey family? I really like how everything tied together and thought the ending was brilliant. I highly recommend this book, it's the perfect story to curl up with on a rainy day. Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.