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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Thirteenth Tale refers to the missing final story from Vida Winters' book, "Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation." Vida Winter is a reclusive writer and the missing story has generated theories and interest for years. The novel is narrated by Margaret Lea, an unmarried woman who grew up in a book store and is a lover of books and literature. Margaret has dabbled in writing biographies, and receives a letter from the renowned Vida Winter asking to write her life story. It's a project that has been attempted many times before by other biographers, but this time Vida swears to tell the truth, if Margaret agrees to follow her ground rules. This story within a story is a gothic tale of twins, mothers gone mad, and a creepy estate that burns to the ground. Diane Setterfield's debut novel has received glowing reviews with the San Diego Union-Tribune saying, "The Thirteenth Tale is a book to savor dozens of times. Like a childhood favorite, it is timeless, charming, pure pleasure to read. It weaves reality and fantasy into a cozy colorful world where characters are both real and archetypal and the good life belongs to people who read. The Thirteenth Tale is a comfort book. A book to restore the spirit."