February is Black History Month, and while “Mirror Girls” by Kelly McWilliams may technically be a magical thriller, it is, at its core, a story of Black power and the strength of family. This book was as inspiring as it was powerful, and the inspiration it draws from Black people’s real experiences played just as much of a role in it as the fictional magic elements. Because, at the end of the day, as this book proves, the truest and strongest form of magic is love.
The two main characters, twin sisters living completely opposite lives, are every bit similar as they are different. Charlie, a passionate activist and born with dark skin, and Magnolia, the heiress to a vast Georgia cotton plantation and born with light skin, are far more connected than 1950s segregation can try to physically separate them. Charlie has been toughened up living in Harlem, New York with their grandmother on their mother’s side, Jeannette. Meanwhile, Magnolia has become quite comfortable living on the plantation of their grandmother on their father’s side, Blanche, in Eureka, Georgia.
Set during the Civil Rights Movement in America, the two must navigate life as reunited sisters in a town bent on keeping them apart. But ancient magic has woven their futures together since the day they were born so seemingly different. And now, with Jeannette and Charlie returning to Eureka, it’s only a matter of time before the town’s mist-shrouded history catches up to them. The only question is if they can set aside their differences, despite what some of their family, and the town, thinks of it, to save each other before their cursed fate comes to reap its consequences.
This book was just as full of predictable twists as it was unpredictable turns. Initially, I didn’t think I would enjoy it, as “reunited sisters” felt like a bit of a cliché plot, but in the end I was not disappointed. The magic aspect, coupled with the strong and deliberate tones of civil rights activism, made it unique and modern despite its older setting. Also, while it was definitely a story about love, it focused more on familial and unconditional love rather than forcing every character to couple up by the end of the book.
I highly recommend this book to any fans of the genre, or anyone looking for a great book about strong Black women that’s well-written but still an easy read. It’s quick to get through, but stays on your mind for a while after reading it, because it truly is a good book.