The Biblio File
April 12, 2021
Librarian book review! I did it again and judged a book by its cover. What book lover wouldn’t be intrigued by the cover of a book that is a stack of books??
Sometimes when I’m reading I will be so eager to know what’s going to happen next that I rush – I skim or skip words, hoping to satisfy my curiosity until at least the end of a chapter. Other times I will find a book where the writing and the language is so descriptive and engaging that I find myself actually slowing down, allowing myself to savour the way that the words are written. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield was one of those books. The story was good but it was the writing style that really engaged me.
Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop to find a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most 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.
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. In the end, both women have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets, as well as the ghosts that haunt them still.
Over the past year we have had a lot of time to read. We would love to hear what you thought about a certain book or author – this helps others to choose books and it’s interesting to us at the PPL to see what people like and why. We would love to start a “Patron book review!” to partner with our librarian reviews that we occasionally pop into the Biblio File or our Facebook page.