The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Mirror blends time travel, personality transfer, horror, family saga, and gothic elements into an absorbing tale. On the eve of their respective weddings, two young women are transported into each other’s bodies and eras by a sinister mirror. Longing to return to their own times, both Brandy and Shay must stay and live out their relative’s life.

Shay Garrett awakes in 1900, inhabiting her grandmother Brandy McCabe’s body. Other shocks hit her quickly: an arranged marriage, Corbin Strock’s rude miner’s shack, epidemics, and early deaths. Corbin is not unkind to his bride, but he is distant and preoccupied. His mother, Thora K., likes Shay as Brandy. Others label Brandy crazy, but Thora K. attributes her glimpses of the future to “the sight.” Shay gradually adapts to living as Brandy, without electricity, plumbing, or telephones. She still hopes to leave, however, and persuades Corbin to bring her the mysterious mirror.

The mirror hums and reflects faraway scenes but does nothing more. Finally, Corbin, suspicious of its strange effects, hides it away in his mine. Later, he dies setting a dynamite charge in the mine. At about the same time, Shay realizes that Brandy is pregnant. The baby dies of pneumonia two weeks after birth.

Hutch Maddon, a wagoneer whom she met on her wedding journey, starts courting Brandy. As Shay, she knew Hutch as her grandfather. A strange tension builds between them.


(The entire section is 565 words.)