The girl in the mirror by Jenny Blackford
Eagle Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780648194521.
This is a story set in two different times, where two girls find each other through a modern mirror. Their lives are so different, and it is this difference that reveals new worlds for each of them, that enhances their ideas, and cements a 'friendship' that crosses the centuries. Beautifully written and particularly aimed at adolescent readers, this novel transcends the science-fiction genre becoming equally acceptable as a light-hearted story on the world of women and a modern and vibrant text on the differences in the world of women, on change and adaptation to the vastly different worlds in which these young women live.
The structure of the novel is the narrative told through the two voices, the alternating chapters told by each girl. When the two young women 'find' each other they are surprised but begin to 'chat' via the long mirror that has stayed in the same house over the centuries. Clarissa is shocked when she sees a girl in the mirror dressed in a 'scandalously short skirt' that shows her knees. In the next chapter Maddy is stunned to see a girl in a long dress whom she thinks is a ghost, but when they begin to speak to one another, Maddy realizes that this is a 'real' girl, albeit from a different era, speaking to her. Both initially unsettled by the appearance of the other, they begin to 'speak' regularly, discussing their lives with a fascination that is gripping for both characters.
Difference in the two eras is a dominant aspect of this narrative, and it is their revelation and discussion of the changes over time, and the historical oppression of women in the past, that entertain the reader. In exploring how the human and technological worlds have evolved, and what this has meant for women particularly, the novel is a definitive text on difference, change and the way in which we humans have managed our reality over the centuries. Enjoyable and revelatory, this novel is most suitable for adolescent reading and interesting for adult reading too.