Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

image from LibraryThing

This is a story in a story in a story. Margret Lea is a meek and mild bookseller's daughter, a biographer of obscure and long dead ordinary people. Then a letter arrives inviting her to write the biography of one of the best loved and well-known authors in England.

Margret takes a trip to meet Vida Winter - an eccentric old woman with cranberry red hair, emerald green eyes and a quick wit. At the first interview Margret began to wonder - was this woman really telling the truth?? She left with 3 facts she was to check - if they were true she would begin the biography.

But, Margret was hooked long before the facts were proven. Vida could weave a tale - the country hung on each of her books. This was the woman who wrote a book called Thirteen Tales  and then only included 12. The entire country waited for the 13th tale.
But,  Margret had never read a one of her books or really cared about her...until she actually met Vida.

Now she is staying in Vida's house, hearing an odd atonal music, dreaming of her missing twin as she listens to the odd and twisted tale of the Angelfield twins. The deeper Margret is immersed in the tale the murkier the truth and reality become.

And then...everything shifts -all reality is viewed through a new lens and Vida becomes something else all together.

I was not hooked until 1/2 way through this book. I enjoyed it -but I didn't really care. I couldn't feel much for Vida or Margret. But as Vida's story rolled out and the big secret came - I couldn't put it down! This is one of those that surprises you. I thought I knew what was going on..but. NO!

A great winter read!

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