I am really excited to tell you all that my new novel, The Mirror, will be released on February 27th.
Some of you may already know this if you saw my cover reveal in January, but I’m so excited I’m happy enough saying it twice.
I am also looking for bloggers who would like to receive a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review on their blogs too. If you would be interested in reviewing the book, drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mirror – What’s it About?
Below is the back cover copy to give you an idea of what The Mirror is all about:
When Amy’s daughter Lilly spots an old mirror in a local antiques store, she can’t resist buying it for her.
But with the mirror comes more than Amy bargained for. When Lilly starts talking about her “friend in the mirror”, Amy writes it off as an imaginary friend.
But Lilly’s imaginary friend is hard to ignore, and it’s not long until Amy finds herself embroiled in a battle; a battle to save her daughter, and a battle to save her secrets.
Can a mirror really reflect the past? How else can Lilly know so much?
The Mirror – A Little Taster
Here is a sneak peek of chapter one:
“Hurry up, you’ll get left behind!” Amy sighed as she turned around and saw Lilly was no longer by her side.
“Mum, come and look at this,” Lilly gushed excitedly as she stared into the shop window, her little nose practically touching the glass.
Amy took a breath to tell Lilly she wasn’t getting any toys today. As she did, she looked up at the name of the shop. Curios For All. An antique store.
An antique store? Amy thought. What can she possibly have spotted in there?
Amy retraced her last couple of steps, dodging around other shoppers who were lucky enough to be escaping back to the car park, and stood by Lilly’s side, looking into the window.
She spotted it straight away. A beautiful silver carousel. A sign beside it read “in full working order.” And below that, £299.99.
“It’s beautiful Lilly,” Amy said. She knew the argument would come next. She almost wished Lilly had spotted a tacky little toy. She could have given in and just let her have it.
“I know,” Lilly smiled. “I’ve got some money in my money box. Do you think I’ve got enough?”
Amy smiled. “I don’t think so honey, it’s very expensive.”
Lilly’s face fell. Amy felt a stab of guilt. She reminded herself that Lilly had plenty of other toys. A thought occurred to her.
“Honey, it’s not a toy. All it’ll do is spin around in a circle, and maybe play a little tune. You can’t really do anything with it.”
“Spin around in a circle?” Lilly repeated, a look of confusion on her face.
Amy nodded. “Yep. That’s what carousels do.”
“Carousel? I don’t know what that is,” Lilly said. “I just want the mirror.”
Amy looked closer into the shop, squinting her eyes. There, in the very back corner of the shop stood a large, dirty looking mirror.
“Can we go in and look? Please?”
Amy sighed again. She knew the mirror was going to be well out of her price range, but what could it hurt letting Lilly look. If she said no, she would still have an argument on her hands. Maybe it would be easier to reason with her when she explained that Lilly didn’t have anywhere near enough money for it.
“Ok,” Amy agreed. “But I don’t think we’ll be able to buy it. Ok?”
Lilly nodded, but she was barely listening. She ducked around Amy and pushed the shop door open. A little bell rang out as the door opened and Lilly was inside. Amy followed behind her, her step heavy.
She glanced around the store, noting the solid oak side board, the huge array of paintings, the knick-knacks and the dresser. The shop was a bit dingy with all the dark wood furniture. Amy thought that all it needed was a cobweb or too and it would look like an old attic, filled with someone’s treasures.
“Morning,” a man’s voice greeted them from somewhere within the shop as the door shut.
Amy smiled. “Good morning,” she said back as the man popped his head up from behind a display unit.
“Hello,” Lilly trilled. “I love your mirror.”
The man smiled. “It’s a beauty isn’t it.”
Lilly nodded enthusiastically as she made her way to the back of the store. She danced around the beautiful carousel without giving it a second glance. Amy shook her head and gave a half smile. It was so typical of Lilly. She was different to most girls her age. She liked unusual things, things that most seven-year-old girls would scoff at.
Lilly reached the mirror. She slowly put out her hand, and gently rubbed the frame. Amy stood behind her and looked critically at the mirror’s frame. It would clean up easy enough she thought.
She looked into the glass of the mirror. She saw herself. She looked younger than her thirty-three years with her clear, blemish free skin. She looked a little pale, but the chill October wind had reddened her cheeks slightly, giving her a rare flush of colour. Her blonde hair framed her face, and her black coat made her look slimmer than she was.
She smiled as she looked at Lilly’s reflection. Lilly was like Amy’s mini-me. She was a small version of Amy with her long blonde hair, button nose and blue eyes. Her eyes sparkled with joy as she stared into the mirror.
Amy saw a movement in the mirror and gasped. She laughed at her own nerves when she realised it was the man from behind the display unit. He moved in the back ground, polishing trinkets and rearranging displays. Amy felt as though he was watching them. Maybe he thought they would try to steal something. She dismissed the thought. Something about this shop was making her nervous and she didn’t like it.
Amy glanced over her shoulder, checking the man was really there. She cursed herself mentally. Of course he was really there. What the hell was wrong with her? She made a concerted effort to push away the uneasy feeling and concentrate instead on breaking her daughter’s heart.
“Can I have it mum? Please?” Lilly asked, bringing Amy back from her thoughts.
“Let’s see how much it is,” Amy said, knowing it was going to be well out of her price range.
The mirror was large, and rectangular in shape. The gilt frame was blackened in places, but that was nothing Amy couldn’t fix. The frame was quite thick, and was covered in a design of swirling ivy with flowers interspersed in it at seemingly random intervals. The mirror itself was in good condition. There were no chips or scratches, and she could picture the mirror shining beautifully, reflecting the rays of winter sun from Lilly’s bedroom wall.
Amy reached for the cardboard price tag attached to the mirror. She looked twice, certain she had made a mistake. £14.99? A mirror this size and quality would be two or three times that new, and this was an antique. It had to be a mistake.
“Excuse me,” Amy called to the man who was still busily rearranging his smaller wares. “Is this price correct?”
“She’s a bargain alright,” the man said.
The man shrugged. “She feels like a she.”
“Right,” Amy said. The man was clearly crazy she decided. Her unease lifted. He was just a lonely man who was glad of the company she decided. That’s why he had been watching them.
“£14.99 it is ma’am. But it’s more if you want it delivered.”
“It’s fine. We can get it home ourselves,” Amy heard herself saying.
Lilly jumped up and down, beside herself with excitement. “Does that mean I can have it?”
“Yes,” Amy smiled down at her.
“Yayy,” Lilly trilled. “It’s so pretty isn’t it?”
Amy found herself caught up in Lilly’s excitement. “It is,” she confirmed.
It was a bargain, the man was right about that, and Amy reasoned that it was practical. It wasn’t just a toy that would be cast aside within an hour or two. It was an antique. An investment. At least that’s what Amy told herself. She knew that something sold so cheaply wasn’t anything like an investment. Sometimes, things were just old and would never be worth anything financially. But to Amy, it was worth every penny to see Lilly so happy.
The man walked over to the mirror and dragged it up off the floor and over to the counter. “Sorry it’s not so clean. I’ve just got it in this morning,” he said.
“It’s fine,” Amy said. “It might be kind of fun cleaning it up, right Lilly?”
Lilly nodded, her face aglow with energy. Amy smiled. She had never seen Lilly so enthusiastic about cleaning anything before. She really was taken with the mirror.
“It’s pretty heavy,” the man said as he wrapped it in brown paper.
Amy smiled. “That’s ok,” she said. “I’m stronger than I look.”
That wasn’t necessarily true, but it was only a mirror. How heavy could it be?
The man finished wrapping up the mirror. Amy put her debit card in the reader and entered her pin number. The machine flashed, telling her to remove her card. She did and she put it away in her purse and dropped her purse into her bag.
“Thanks,” she smiled as the man handed her a receipt. She stuffed it in her pocket and picked the mirror up. The man had been right. It was heavy. Way heavier than she had expected.
With a grunt, she hefted the mirror up and hugged it to her chest.
“Can you get in front and grab the door?” she said to Lilly.
Lilly nodded, her excitement still clear to see on her face. “Bye,” she said to the man. She skipped around Amy and pulled the door open.
“See you later,” smiled the man.
Amy wrestled the mirror along the high street to the car, glad that they had been on their way to the car anyway. She was pleased she didn’t have a load of bags of shopping. They hadn’t bought anything except the mirror. They had only come to the high street because they were both bored of being indoors, and it was too cold to go and sit in the park.
Amy propped the mirror up against the back tyre of her car and opened the boot. She heaved the mirror into the boot and slammed it shut. She sighed and theatrically wiped imaginary sweat off her brow. Lilly giggled. Her giggle was a musical sound, one that never failed to make Amy join in, which she did now.
They got into the car and headed for home. Lilly chatted away enthusiastically about the mirror. Where it would go, how she would never get sick of looking in it. Amy felt herself caught up in Lilly’s excitement, laughing along with her, telling her it was a beautiful mirror, perfect for a beautiful girl.
Amy pulled the car onto the driveway, tucking it in snuggly behind Scott’s car. She got out and Lilly followed her.
“What about the mirror?” Lilly asked. She stopped beside the car when she realised Amy was going to the house without it.
“We’ll ask your dad to get it,” Amy said. “Lugging it along the high street was enough for me.”
Lilly seemed ready to argue then thought better of it. With a final glance at the car boot, she ran to catch up with Amy as she opened the front door of the house. They went through to the kitchen, Amy calling out to Scott to tell him they were home. Scott came through and met them in the kitchen.
“Hi,” Amy said as Scott kissed her cheek.
“Hi,” he replied smiling a greeting. “How was your day?”
“Great,” said Amy.
“Where’s all the bags then?” Scott teased. It was rare for Amy to go anywhere near the high street and not return with several bags of “essentials”.
“Dad, mum bought me a mirror. You should see it. It’s so pretty. I love it,” Lilly said. Her words ran together in her excitement.
Scott laughed as her rubbed her hair. “A mirror huh? Well I wasn’t expecting that.”
“It really is quite pretty. It’s an antique and it was only £14.99,” Amy said. “She saw it and fell in love with it, and she does need a mirror for her room. Can you grab it? It’s in the boot and it’s pretty heavy.”
Amy handed Scott her car keys. “Sure,” he grinned.
Lilly followed behind him as he made his way to the car and opened up the boot. He lifted the mirror out and put it beside his feet as he closed and locked the boot. He picked the mirror up again and headed for the house, Lilly close on his heels, chattering away.
Amy smiled as she watched the two of them. She was glad she had come here all those years ago. She was glad they were still a family. It had been touch and go for a while, but it was ok now. They were ok.
“Well, it feels pretty solid,” Scott said as he placed the mirror on the kitchen table. “Should we open it?”
Lilly nodded, her face lighting up.
Scott gently tore away the brown paper, helped by Lilly’s little hands.
“When I lift the mirror up, you pull the paper out from underneath it,” he told Lilly. Lilly held the edge of the paper. Scott lifted the mirror and nodded. Lilly pulled the paper away, discarding it on the floor behind her.
Amy picked it back up. She knew she should say something to Lilly about throwing the rubbish down that way but she was so happy and Amy didn’t want to ruin that for her. Not today, when she was so excited. Amy pushed the paper into the bin herself.
Lilly was hopping from foot to foot, barely able to conceal her excitement as Scott examined the mirror.
Amy frowned slightly. What was it about the mirror that had Lilly so excited? It was only a mirror. She thought for a moment.
“Lilly, what’s your favourite thing about the mirror?” she asked.
Lilly didn’t pause. “Well, I like the faces,” she said.
“You can see your face in any mirror,” Scott laughed.
“Not our faces,” Lilly said, in a long drawn out voice as though she was having to explain something obvious to someone who’s intelligence was questionable. “Their faces. The ones on the frame.”
Amy’s frown deepened. She bent closer to look where Lilly was pointing. And that’s when she saw it. What she had thought had been flowers on the frame where actually faces. Haunted faces, their mouths twisted in terror, their souls trapped forever in the mirror like their bodies were trapped forever in the vines.
Amy felt a shudder run through her. She rubbed her hands up and down on her arms, feeling the gooseflesh and the tiny hairs standing on end.
“Ames? Are you ok?” Scott asked, his tone gentle.
Amy blinked and looked away from the mirror. Her eyes were instantly drawn back. She gave a shaky laugh. The faces weren’t twisted in terror. What has she been thinking? They were the pretty faces of children, beaming in pleasure, their heads adorned with flowery headbands. She thought they might be fairies.
“I’m fine,” she said to Scott. “I thought I saw something on one of the faces. I’m letting my imagination run away with me.”
Scott looked at her a moment too long.
“Don’t you like them?” Lilly asked quietly. One glance at her crest fallen face snapped Amy out of her strange mood. The chill passed.
“I do,” she smiled at Lilly. Lilly’s happy grin returned. She knew she needed to explain further. Not for Lilly, Lilly was happy with her explanation, but for Scott.
“I thought there was a chip here,” she pointed at one of the faces, “but it was just the light.”
Scott smiled. “Always looking for problem,” he teased. His tone was light, but Amy thought she heard something beneath the joke. Worry? She wasn’t sure, but there was something. And the way he had looked at her. Like she was a fragile bird, and he was a cat stalking her.
Amy shook her head to clear out the thoughts. God, what’s wrong with me she thought. She needed to snap out of it, whatever it was.
“I’ll put the kettle on,” Scott said. “Why don’t you two start cleaning up that frame?”
“Can we?” Lilly asked.
“Yup,” Amy confirmed. “Just let me get changed and we’ll grab some dusters and see what we can do to make it all shiny and new again.”
That’s what they’d done here too. They’d moved to this house to make everything shiny and new again. It would take more than a duster to clean their mess though Amy thought.
I hope you liked the first part.
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