The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
GENRE: gothic fiction
SUBJECT: twins, family relationships, dependencies
SETTING: Yorkshire, England
CHARACTERS: Vida Winter, Margaret Lea, Adeline March, Emmeline March, Aurelius Love, Hester Barrow
DATE READ: October 27 - November 3
NO. OF PAGES: 509
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: Yes, audio stockpile
CATEGORY: Speech Class
THRESHOLD QUALITY: 4
Vida Winter, a renowned storyteller, is finally ready to tell her own story truthfully. She has told previous biographers different stories but now that she knows she is dying, she hires Margaret Lea to come to her private estate to listen and record her story. There are conditions - she cannot ask any questions and must work on Ms. Winter's timetable. But once she starts talking, there's no turning back.
Her powerful story is compelling, mesmerizing, with twists and turns that make the reader stop, turn around, say what was that, and then just continue to plunge forward seeking more. Just as Margaret searches for answers without being able to ask any questions, the reader follows along the path of the tale wondering when the truths will be revealed, all the details discovered which will finally tell all. And then the end, so startling, unexpected, the reader staggers under the final disclosures.
I don't know what else to say. At the very beginning I wasn't excited but the more I got into the story, the more I couldn't put it down. Just as I thought I was at a place where my mind could take a breather, wham, I was hit with another revelation that knocked me for a loop. Highly recommended - completely captivating.