A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James- Feature and Review

                                                             ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.



The Woman in the Mirror: A NovelThe Woman in the Mirror: A Novel by Rebecca James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James is a 2020 Minotaur publication.

An eerie tribute to supernatural Gothic tales!

It’s 1947 and Alice Miller has just arrived at Winterbourne Hall to start her new job as governess for Jonathan de Grey’s twins. Alice is hoping this position will help her move beyond her haunted past as she works to keep her own secrets buried.

However, Jonathan is not a very warm person, at all, and the bond she initially forges with the children quickly sours. Not only that, the house itself appears to have an evil intent- its purpose to drive Alice to the brink of insanity…

Fast forward to present day New York, where Rachel Wright discovers she has inherited Winterbourne. Because she was adopted at birth, Rachel feels this may be the perfect opportunity to learn more about her heritage.

Yet, upon arrival, she finds that Winterbourne’s history is far from romantic, and despite her determination to stay and uncover all the long buried secrets of its past, the house and its tragic legacy prove to be more of a formidable opponent than she bargained for...

This book had my name on it! Rebecca James did a fantastic job of creating the intense uneasiness of a good spooky Gothic tale of terror, without lapsing into ridiculous clich├ęs. The book is in some ways an homage to some of the greats, replete with the Cornish setting, the governess, the imposing house, and all those dark secrets, and of course, the requisite touch of the supernatural.

While the story is true to the classics, the modern- day timeline, allows James to put her own contemporary stamp on the story. The suspense is taut, the atmosphere heavy and malevolent, seamlessly blending the past with the present.

This is my kind of Gothic story! I loved it! I am so happy to see the traditional themes given a seat of honor is this topical tale of Gothic suspense!! Well done!


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.

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