Picks and Pans Review: The Thirteenth Tale

UPDATED 10/02/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 10/02/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

By Diane Setterfield
REVIEWED BY SUE CORBETT
NOVEL

Bookshop assistant Margaret Lea is summoned to the estate of British author Vida Winter to write her biography—a gothic tale of incest and identity swapping, adultery and arson. Margaret puzzles out the truth while keeping watch on her own heart, as Vida's story focuses on twin sisters, and Margaret has her own raw secret: She is a twin too, haunted by her infant sister's death. Readers will feel the magnetic pull of this paean to words, books and the power of story.

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