The beautiful twin sisters Iris and Summer of Rose Carlyle's book The Girl in the Mirror are startlingly alike and yet also frighteningly different.
Taking the reader on a twisty suspenseful tale exploring family dynamics, duplicity, greed, jealousy, secrets and lies, this book is definitely a "read in one sitting" type of tale.
If you do try to take a break from it, to sleep or eat perhaps, you will find yourself unable to stop thinking about Iris, Summer and the crazy inheritance rule they find themselves pawns of.
The twins are mirror twins - they are a literal reflection of each other. Where one has a heart on the left, the other on the right. That feeling of same but different, of mirror images is skilfully used as a leitmotif throughout the twisted tale.
Take two beautiful girls, some jealousy, a feeling of inadequacy and throw $100 million worth of inheritance and you have the foundations of a great story. Add a yacht, a wide and lonely expanse of sea, some unpleasant side characters and some hungry crocodiles and you have a blockbuster of a novel. Add to this the realism involved in the author's descriptions of sailing - she clearly knows her starboard from her port and her sloop from her cutter - and it is a well-told tale.
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All this is not to say it is perfect, it isn't, but then, neither are families are they - and this book is all about the imperfection of family. While there are some flaws - secondary characters who need a bit more fleshing out perhaps, or perhaps a few too many wealthy, beautiful but vapid characters and not enough "normal" ones, they aren't enough to kill the suspense. The only really jarring moment is in the use of the incredibly disturbing word "sexyrape". While the author might argue it is a descriptor and used in context, I can't help but feel the story could have been told without the use of a word that so facetiously negates and minimises the real horror and trauma rape victims experience.
Despite this one misstep, the book is a great read and one worth getting a signed copy of, so you can say you read it before the author swapped Takapuna for Tinseltown - which might just happen given the success the novel has enjoyed already.
The Girl in the Mirror is Rose Carlyle's first novel and it has already been snapped up by Hollywood, with a major international movie deal already sold. Before the book was even published it had secured a six-figure deal with HarperCollins in the States, an Allen & Unwin deal for Australia and New Zealand, and had been sold into four other languages as well.
Not bad for a first time novelist living in Takapuna.
Margie Hodgetts, director of Paper Plus Stratford, says when she heard about the book she knew it would be popular. She is delighted to have Rose Carlyle visiting the store on October 6 as part of her author tour around New Zealand.
"I was keen to support her as she is a New Zealand writer and it is her first novel, and I am sure people will be keen to come and meet her and get her to sign a copy of her book for them. It will be something worth keeping as she is going to go far if this first book is anything to go by."
Meet the author: Rose Carlyle will be signing copies of her book The Girl in the Mirror at Paper Plus Stratford on Tuesday, October 6, from 10am-10.15am. Copies of her book are available in store now.