The Girl in the Mirror

Last fall, one of my most anticipated books for October 2020 was The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle. Right away, I picked up a copy from Book of the Month.This debut thriller takes place aboard a yacht in the Indian Ocean as twin sisters sail from Thailand to the Seychelles. But when Summer is lost to the ocean’s depths, Iris unexpectedly finds herself living her sister’s perfect life. It’s a twisted and exciting examination of greed, toxic family dynamics, and taking things way too far.

The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle
GenreThriller; Psychological Thriller
SettingAustralia; Thailand; The Seychelles; Indian Ocean
Number of Pages293
Format I ReadHardcover (BOTM)
Original Publication DateOctober 20, 2020

Official Summary

Identical twins only look the same …

Beautiful twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of open-hearted Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam.

Called to Thailand to help sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. 

Now is her chance to take what she’s always wanted – the idyllic life she’s always coveted. But just how far will she go to get the life she’s dreamed about? And how will she make sure no one discovers the truth?

Written with the chilling suspense of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go to Sleep, The Girl in the Mirror is an addictive thriller about greed, lust, secrets and deadly lies.


The Girl in the Mirror is the kind of book that will leave you thinking, “What the heck did I just read?!” It’s filled with unlikable characters who are rich but greedy, petty, egotistical, and overly competitive. It all starts with the family patriarch—a horrible man in his own right—who has died and left an unconventional will: He’ll leave his entire multi-million dollar fortune to whichever of his children has a child of their own, as long as it’s within wedlock. The first one to reproduce gets the fortune, and it can’t be shared with their siblings. Between his first family, including identical twins Summer and Iris and younger brother Ben, and his second family, including four more kids, there are a lot of people in the running. The only advantage that the twins have is that they’re the oldest; they’ll be able to marry and have kids sooner than their younger half-siblings.

It looks like Summer is due to inherit it all soon. She’s recently married and reveals to Iris that she’s pregnant. Iris has always been jealous of Summer, the seemingly perfect, beautiful, sweet-natured first-born. Iris has long felt inferior, especially with her messy life lately. Even so, Iris is happy for Summer and excited to be an aunt. She’s also certain that Summer will share the inheritance at least a bit.

The two of them sail their family yacht from Thailand to the Seychelles, getting in some valuable sister time and having important heart-to-hearts. But then Iris wakes up one morning to find that Summer has vanished, evidently gone overboard in the night. Try as she might, Iris can’t find her sister, and eventually makes it to the Seychelles alone. Her life is already turned upside down with this loss, but things get even weirder as Summer’s husband, Adam, assumes that Iris is Summer. Suddenly, Iris is living her sister’s life… and may be happier for it. But she has to keep fooling everyone that she is, indeed, Summer. Adam’s baby from his first marriage, Tarquin, may be hardest to fool, but luckily he can’t talk yet. Iris also needs to get pregnant ASAP so they can have that inheritance-earning baby, and she’s in a tight race against her younger half-sister.

Things get more and more twisted from there. There is so much toxicity in this wealthy Australian family, and it seems that everyone is greedy and lacking a conscience. Iris makes some highly questionable choices… but they also kind of make sense, given her circumstances. For a while, the book feels like it’s moving in one direction, but then some twists later on change everything and inject a new rush of excitement.

I hated the characters, but in a way that made the book really enjoyable somehow. Maybe I wanted to see them get what they deserved. Maybe I also started to feel for Iris and wanted things to work out for her in the end. My perspective certainly shifted as the story progressed, but one thing remained true: Money can really bring out the worst in people.

And I shan’t say it here, but THAT ENDING?!?!? I nearly threw my book across the room! I’m upset! I’m shocked! Why!?!

I can only sum up The Girl in the Mirror like this: These bitches are crazy.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t mind some morally gray (or just morally bankrupt) rich people getting up to dangerous rich people shenanigans, with some upsetting twists along the way, The Girl in the Mirror is the thriller for you. This is definitely a book I’ll be thinking about for a long time, and as long as Rose Carlyle writes more, I will be reading more from her.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

About the Author

Rose Carlyle - credit Jane Ussher

Credit: Jane Ussher

Rose Carlyle is a law professor who has written intermittently throughout her life and who began writing fiction in 2016. She was awarded first class honours in her creative writing Masters at the University of Auckland and was granted a prestigious mentorship under which she developed and completed this manuscript. She spends her spare time in far-flung places and currently lives in New Zealand. The Girl in the Mirror is her debut novel.

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