Biographer Margaret Lea returns to her apartment one evening above her father’s antiquarian bookshop when she finds a letter. Vida Winter, a gravely ill famous novelist, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history.
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.
I was going through my Kindle library, finding titles to add to my Goodreads list when I stumbled upon The Thirteenth Tale. I read this book in 2012 for a book/recipe club I was in at the time. Immediately, I thought, “How did I forget this awesome book?!” I started reading if for the second time this morning!
I must say that this is hands-down one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot! The Thirteenth Tale reminds me of two of my all time favorite books – Jane Eyre (Bronte) and Rebecca (du Maurier). I would describe it as a contemporary gothic novel – one that is dark, mysterious and full of twists and turns. The writing is beautiful as well.
Although it is not a short read, it is a must read for sure.
Happy Reading! 🙂 Jennie, PCTELA President, @jenniekaywrites