The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield
I just finished this book so its quite fresh in my mind. This isn't one that I really want to review in normal fashion because there's an element of mystery and suspense to it that shouldn't be spoiled by accidentally reading the conclusion in a review.
So I'll say this:
This book is spooky, riveting, suspenseful, disgusting, vile, a great page turner and will linger in your mind for a good long while (I would imagine). It tells the story of a family who basically disintegrates. It's an excellent example of what can happen when Christ is removed from the picture. It's not a story of redemption. More like relief. I'm not even sure how its relieving, exactly. It just is.
The story grips you from the get-go, which is probably why it has received so many good reviews all over the internet. It's a story every book lover will identify with immediately. The narrator of the tale, Margaret, helps to keep up her father's bookstore. She describes reading a book in a way that only a dedicated reader can understand. You'll know what I mean when you read it. Her character is personable, albeit tragic. She is hired to write the biography of Vida Winter, a mysterious but well-loved writer in England. The story is how Vida Winter came to be. Its a search for truth and the revelation of it (as painful as it sometimes is).
I liked this book because it was gripping. I hated it for the same reason. It IS spooky. The depravity of man is vividly described -- yet -- upon recollection, Setterfield really isn't that descriptive. She says just enough and no more and yet you can see everything quite clearly in your mind's eye. Sometimes it is very disturbing. But its not something you'll necessarily put down - even though you may want to.
If the story weren't so dark at times, I'd say it was a cotton candy read. It certainly is captivating. It's hard for me to recommend it because of the subject matter involved here and there. At the same time, the story ties together so amazingly well that its hard to pass up! I'm definitely curious to hear what the rest of you think of it after reading it!