For those who love an engrossing family drama steeped in mystery I have just the book for you: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I guarantee you'll be hooked by the third page (or perhaps even earlier). I had barely gotten a third of the way through before I was checking to see what else Setterfield had written and if I could get my grubby mitts on it. (She just released a book in December called Once Upon a River and I'm already on the library's holds list for it.)
When I was writing notes about this book after reading it I realized that I was basically regurgitating the plot because I had no idea how to sum up my feelings without divulging loads of spoilers. I'm still not entirely sure how to do it so I'll try to be as basic as I can be here. The story opens with a bookseller named Margaret Lea who upon returning to her flat finds a letter from an acclaimed author named Vida Winter. Despite being very well-read and what most would consider a true bookworm this is one author that she has never paid much mind to despite her abundance of novels and literary renown. This is rather awkward as it seems the esteemed lady wants Margaret to write her biography. There follows a meeting between the two women where Ms. Winter's true identity is revealed (no mean feat in itself as she's been dodging the truth for years with interviewers). We are then treated to some of the most amazing writing I've read in quite some time as Setterfield begins to weave a story that pulled me in hook, line, and sinker. Make no mistake, Margaret is simply the vehicle through which we are treated to the story of Vida Winter but without Margaret this book wouldn't be the well-rounded thing of beauty that it is (but it would probably still be pretty great).
The book is touted as a mystery because the reader is alongside Margaret as the story of Ms. Winter's life is slowly and inexorably revealed and she finds herself having to hold her tongue as the flow of questions becomes almost too much to bear. Who exactly is this woman? What kind of connection do twins have and can one live without the other? By hearing Vida's story will it irrevocably change the course of Margaret's life? You have to read The Thirteenth Tale to find out (or to come up with even more questions). This is one that you don't want to miss, guys. 10/10
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What I'm Currently Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson
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