It took a while for me to pick up a new book to read. I wanted to start the year by reading Lang Leav’s book, “Love and Misadventure”, but I had a hard time finding a copy of it in the bookstores. Apparently, it would take a while before it becomes available here in Qatar, and I really wanted to read it in paperback or hardbound… whichever becomes available first.
Anyways, I stumbled upon this particular novel while in tumblr. The title, “The Thirteenth Tale”, made me curious as to what the story was about. It sounds mystifying so I checked it out.
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 them still.
I’m currently reading this on ebook form. It has 1197 pages and I’m now on page 643. I must say it is a compelling novel. A story within a story. Miss Vida Winter’s life is fascinating despite it being dark and disturbing. I can’t wait to end reading this novel. I really wanted to know the thirteenth tale.