Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
The Thirteenth Tale
Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father's antiquarian bookshop.  On her steps she finds a letter.  It is a hand-written request from one of Britain's most prolific and well-loved novelists.  Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history.  The request takes Margaret by surprise--she doesn't know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter's dozens of novels.

Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter's personal story, Margaret begins to read her father's rare copy of Miss Winter's Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation.  She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories.  Where is the thirteenth tale?  Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now  burnt-out estate that was her childhood home.  Margaret carefully records Miss Winter's account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story.

Both women will have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets...and the ghosts that haunt the still.

2/5 stars (it was OK)
I liked the writing in this book and thought it was very well written.  I actually didn't like the character of Margaret so it was hard to get into the book.  I found Vida's story very interesting though.  I wish the book had more of Vida's story and less of Margaret's story.  The ending of Vida's story did surprise me.

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