by Ferne Arfin, 18 February 2022
I’ve recently discovered that nothing quite matches the experience of launching a debut novel
London, 18 February 2022 – Let me be straight. I’ve been a writer – writing for money – for my entire working life. But waiting for Tunnel of Mirrors reviews is a new, nerve-wracking experience.
I’ve worked as a journalist, an advertising copywriter – selling everything from FAX machines and computers to banks, restaurant chains, shoes and clothing – a PR pen for hire, a travel writer, a travel and business book author and a blogger. The tools of my trade have changed from an old-fashioned clackety-clack Remington typewriter to an IBM golf ball (remember those?) through Amstrad word processors and PCs using every generation of Word ever created to my iPhone.
All this, a long way into letting you know that seeing my work — and my name – in print is nothing new for me. What is new, however, is my anxiety over waiting for book reviews and, since 1 February when my first carton of hardbacks arrived, the proprietary way I’ve been feeling about Tunnel of Mirrors. What do you mean by what book inspired me to write my novel? Are the character based on REAL people? Who first told you this story? To which my insecure, inner author bristles and composes testy replies that must remain unsaid.
The good news is the Tunnel of Mirrors reviews are in and they’re thrilling
It’s early days of course. Just like investing in stocks and shares – that can go up in value as well as down — investing your emotions in reviews can be an awful roller coaster ride.
But so far, so good. Amazon and Barnes&Noble readers have contributed their opinions, writing from the UK, US. Canada and New Zealand.
Herewith, a selection of online reviews, with links to their originals. And if any of them inspire you, you can find out how to buy Tunnel of Mirrors on the right side of this page.
- 5 stars I fell right in to this Tunnel of Mirrors! Absolutely loved this book! The interwoven tales of Rachel and Ciaran were intriguing, beautifully written, and a delight to read. The rich descriptions of New York and Ireland brought back fond memories of my time in both places. If you enjoy thoughtful romances, this book will satisfy your itch. I laughed, I teared up, and I cheered. Do yourself a favour and get it!
- 5 stars A LOVE STORY FOR GROWN UPS The story lines that bring these two lovers-to-be together are so rich with characters and times and places that the novel feels as deep as a major classic work by Dickens or Tolstoy, but, is lighter and tighter, without sacrificing any impact. And the moments are so rich that I often recall scenes as if I had seen a movie of the novel. This love story is for grown-ups. It would be perfect for a book club and, in fact, I’m suggesting it for mine.
- 5 stars A compelling, haunting read that will stay with you This is one of the best novels I’ve read recently, with compelling characters and storylines, lush, poetic writing, and passages that haunted me for days after I put down the book. For anyone who loves historical fiction, stories about strong women, family sagas and novels with elements of magical realism, this book will hit the spot. It’s a long novel, but a genuine page-turner.
- 5 stars Really enjoyable read Tunnel of Mirrors is thoroughly enjoyable – I quickly became heavily invested in the characters and the immersive world that the author builds. The book is written in a beautifully lyrical and accessible style which describes the ebb and flow of two lives destined to intertwine. I strongly recommend it!
- 5 stars Beautifully written and a wonderful story This book really transports you to another time and place. The two very different worlds are so well painted and the characters are unforgettable. There is a great sense of foreboding and mystery, and the writing is so poetic. Although this is not a fantasy novel, there is a magical and otherworldly aspect that animates this unique and surprising story. This is a great book club selection.
- 5 stars New world love story with a heady dose of ancestral spirit Immigrant families bringing with them tradition and culture with a heady dose of ancestral spirit. What could be more romantic and exciting than travelling to New York in the 1920s? A cultural melting pot full of excitement and opportunity. More than a typical love story Tunnel of Mirrors follows outsiders Rachel and Ciaran. Perhaps drawn to each other through their shared experiences as outcasts, or perhaps through fate? Otherworldly influences from the past guide them to a new future. This book has echoes of Garcia Marquez in its grand family history and magical realism, with a side order of the American Dream as a backdrop. The characters are very well observed and I loved reading all the references to Jewish and Irish culture along with the poetic language used. Would definitely recommend.
- 5 stars Travel Back in Time Ferne Arfin is a natural storyteller. In Tunnel of Mirrors, Miss Arfin writes of the courage and love between a man and a woman from two different worlds, a couple whose life experiences are artfully tied together by Arfin in this, her first novel. Arfin’s attention to detail is so carefully descriptive that I found myself visualizing the characters and the surroundings. I felt as though I was being carried back in time…I was right there with them hearing the sounds they were hearing, feeling the rain and the cold, their frustrations, disappointments, their happiness. I didn’t want to put this book down, so I didn’t and finished it in two days. I’d highly recommend it!
- 5 stars Expert storytelling and evocative language Love stories are not my normal choice of genre but I am glad I made an exception as the tale drew me in with expert storytelling and the evocative language. The writing is so lyrical my reading slowed to relish the phrases in many sections. This book would transfer well to an audible book – I would certainly buy it. The descriptive writing was so sensuous it felt as though I could taste, smell and see the story unfolding. The characters were so well rounded I wondered if they were people who had really existed. The occasional dry wit gave it sparkle and the magical realism heightened the reading experience for me. Chattering spirits, visions, all feel entirely natural while giving the novel more texture and interest for me. I have recommended the book now to several friends and I feel like this is a talent worth watching. I wouldn’t be surprised if this multi-layered novel is adapted for television or cinema. Watch this space.
- 5 stars A fascinating period of history Tunnel of Mirrors is a sensitively handled love story, set in the worlds of New York’s Lower East Side and Rathlin Island off the coast of Ulster, in the early 20th Century. The vivid descriptions of these worlds now lost to history are transportive and very well described. The dramatic dialogue, that draws out the regional dialects and modes of expression of the era brings the strong characters to life and pulls you into the story of Ciaran and Rachel. This novel is very readable, with characters to fall in love with. It is set against a fascinating period of history, that doesn’t engulf the story but provides a compelling backdrop.
- 5 stars I would give this book 10 stars if I could Not only is this a wonderful story, but the way it is written is a joy to read. The words are so lyrical and descriptive that the story flows beautifully. The characters, all of them, are very well developed. I had no problem picturing them in my mind’s eye and no problem seeing the story unfold through the eyes of the characters. I would not be in the least surprised if this book made it to the best seller’s list. I think this book would be great for people who belong to book clubs. It would be a great selection as there is much to discuss in a group and many questions to ask. I think the book and the story within, will forever lie in the mind of the reader. Bravo to the author, Ferne Arfin, for writing such a beautiful story, I will continue to read this author in the future.
- 4 stars Lyrical, evocative view of New York’s lower east side I so enjoyed this evocative story. The author conveys, vividly, much about the lower East Side of New York, early last century. The language is lyrical, almost poetic at times. The characters’ dialogue is, in places, phonetic, with accent- it is easy to ‘hear’ it. Through this tale, I felt closer to understanding something of the cultural melting pot that New York must always have been. There is a naïve knowingness to Rachel, one of the two central characters. I was intrigued by the history that both she and her opposite number, Ciaran, brought to their pivotal, fateful meeting. A wonderful read.
- 5 stars Rachel and Ciaran-with roots in the ‘old world’, yet destined to meet in New York This is an intriguing tale, taking us to the heart of the immigrants’ experience of New York. Everyone has their own powerful back-story, bringing them or their families to the new world The two protagonists, Rachel and Ciaran, are no exception. They are fleshed-out, credible, well grounded in their personal history and the roads travelled which brought them together. I wonder if they were just destined to meet, wherever? Seems like fate. They both have their own, unique, other-worldly qualities, despite their different cultural backgrounds. A page-turner. Hope Ms Arfin writes more!
- Vivid Storytelling Tunnel of Mirrors is a magical, lyrical love story set in America and Ireland in the early part of the 20th century. The writing excellently portrays not only the Jewish area of New York City but also the wild and rugged cliffs of Rathlin Island off the north coast of Ireland. The interesting, intriguing characters come to life in among the issues and constraints of their times and their cultures. Many of the scenes in the book remain crystal clear in my head. The author weaves suspense, history, folklore and magic into the plot. This book would produce a great deal of discussion in a book club – I will definitely be recommending it to mine!