Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

I haven’t come across many people who have read this book which really makes me sad – it is one of my absolute favorites. Setterfield spins a wonderful tale of mystery and suspense while the two main characters confront their pasts. The story jumps between the present day and past lives of Vida Winter and Margaret Lea.
Vida Winter is a famous English author who lived an incredibly closed off life. As her health begins to fade, she decides that it is time to reveal the secrets of her past and enlists the help of Margaret Lea to do so. Lea is by no means a professional biographer but rather a simple girl who works in her father’s bookstore with her own ghosts to confront.
While Lea debates on whether or not to accept Winter’s invitation to hear her story, she reads Winter’s “Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation”. Once she finishes, she realizes there are only twelve stories contained in the novel. This intrigues Lea enough to make the journey to visit Winter and at least discuss the possibility of writing her biography.
Even though Lea attempts to turn down the author’s request, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Winter’s promises about stories of ghosts and dark family secrets. She finally agrees to hear the author out. Winter begins to recount her history at Angelfield (her family’s estate which is now abandoned) with “Once upon a time there were two little girls…”
Just as Lea becomes completely enthralled with Winter’s story, so will you. Setterfield’s writing is captivating and descriptive. You will find yourself standing on the lawn of Angelfield with the characters and tiptoeing around the massive mansion desperate to figure out the secrets it holds.
I’ve read this book three or four times and each time is just as good as the first. If you are looking for a real page turner that will keep you guessing until the very end – go pick this books up right now.
Rating: Amazing – 10 out of 10

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