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Former academic Setterfield pays tribute in her debut to Brontë and du Maurier heroines: a plain girl gets wrapped up in a dark, haunted ruin of a house, which guards family secrets that are not hers and that she must discover at her peril. Margaret Lea, a London bookseller's daughter, has written an obscure biography that suggests deep understanding of siblings. She is contacted by renowned aging author Vida Winter, who finally wishes to tell her own, long-hidden, life story. Margaret travels to Yorkshire, where she interviews the dying writer, walks the remains of her estate at Angelfield and tries to verify the old woman's tale of a governess, a ghost and more than one abandoned baby. With the aid of colorful Aurelius Love, Margaret puzzles out generations of Angelfield: destructive Uncle Charlie; his elusive sister, Isabelle; their unhappy parents; Isabelle's twin daughters, Adeline and Emmeline; and the children's caretakers. Contending with ghosts and with a (mostly) scary bunch of living people, Setterfield's sensible heroine is, like Jane Eyre, full of repressed feeling—and is unprepared for both heartache and romance. And like Jane, she's a real reader and makes a terrific narrator. That's where the comparisons end, but Setterfield, who lives in Yorkshire, offers graceful storytelling that has its own pleasures. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Margaret Lea, a bookish loner, is summoned to the home of Vida Winter, England's most popular novelist, and commanded to write her biography. Miss Winter has been falsifying her life story and her identity for more than 60 years. Facing imminent death and feeling an unexplainable connection to Margaret, Miss Winter begins to spin a haunting, suspenseful tale of an old English estate, a devastating fire, twin girls, a governess, and a ghost. As Margaret carefully records Vida's tale, she ponders her own family secrets. Her research takes her to the English moors to view a mansion's ruins and discover an unexpected ending to Vida's story. Readers will be mesmerized by this -story-within-a-story tinged with the eeriness of Rebecca and the willfulness of Jane Eyre. The author skillfully keeps the plot moving by unfurling a new twist in each chapter and leaves no strand untucked at the surprising and satisfying conclusion. A wholly original work told in the vein of all the best gothic classics. Lovers of books about book lovers will be enthralled. Kaite Mediatore
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
My goodness I love the wonderful world that Dianne Setterfield has created in this story rich with wonderfully flawed characters, a writing style that was so beautiful and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Cindy Beverly
I enjoyed this book immensely... read it in a few days...the beginning maybe a little slow, but it is setting the story, which once it pulls you in, you will not be able to put... Read morePublished 12 months ago by roebag
This book had me right away and held me right until the last word. I still want more, and wish it wasn't over. Amazing story.Published 15 months ago by Melissa B
This book was recommended by a friend for which I will always be grateful. Diane Setterfield is a master in her field. Can't wait to read her next novel.Published 15 months ago by Denyse Bertrand
*** This book review, as well as many more, can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (www.thebakingbookworm.blogspot. Read morePublished 17 months ago by The Baking Bookworm
I wanted to like this book more than I did - because there is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Lynne Frappier
I have to admit that I bought this book in the middle of some big life transitions so it took me a good week or so to get really into it. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Jenna321