Margaret Lea, an antiquarian bookseller and sometime biographer of obscure writers, receives a letter from Vida Winter, "the world's most famous living
author". Vida has always invented pasts for herself in interviews, but now, on her death-bed, she has decided to tell the truth, and has chosen Margaret to write her story. Living at Vida's country estate, Margaret finds herself spellbound by the tale of Vida's childhood some seventy years earlier. But is it really the truth? And will Vida live to finish the story?
What a marvellous gothic romp to read! Perfect for a wet Sunday to read straight through...agreed we had to suspend our critical faculties. Auckland 016
All of us loved the book and couldn't put it down. Wellington 134
Good story - but not plausible in some areas. Ohope 004
Reminded us of great novels like 'Jane Eyre', 'Wuthering Heights' - full of suspense, mystery, fraught relationships. Kept us guessing and ending was not expected. Whangamata 001
Most of the members liked the book. Some found it a bit dark for their taste. We had a really interesting discussion as the book is fairly complex with lots of twists and turns to the story. Nelson 041
Our rating and comments were probably the most diverse we've had... scores from 2 to 4.5; comments from "Weird" to "I loved it!" Other comments : "complex", "dark", "intriguing". However, it led to a good discussion and we were all pleased to have read and completed it.
A 'modern' day gothic tale. Almost all of us found the book and the way the story was laid out very intriguing. The writer has a love of language and a beautiful turn of phrase. It lead to discussion about recluses and people with damaged personalities and whether they could be rehabilitated.
Interesting reaction from the group as some who wouldn't choose this type of book thoroughly enjoyed it -while some found it difficult to get in to, or a bit drawn out, or a little dark. All agreed that it was complex, both in plot and characters with loads of suspense and intrigue. It was mostly believable and beautifully descriptive. A couple of our members maintained that it was much better when read a second time.
Except for one member who never finished the book we were unanimous in our admiration for the novel. Some found it a little hard going to start with, but once underway were hooked. We thought it was cleverly constructed, easy to read once underway, and beautifully descriptive. It may have been a tiny bit too long, with some bits a bit repetitive, but overall it was much enjoyed and difficult to put down.
Interesting book, not everyone's taste but plenty of suspense and mystery to keep your interest going.
We enjoyed the book. Found it an easy read, one we wanted to set some time aside to really get into. Really enjoyed her writing style, some memorable pieces of writing.
We found this book interesting with lots of twists. A few of us found it over long and a little hard to get through. On the whole, the group enjoyed the book.
Some found it difficult to read but definitely worth it! Our best discussion so far - very lively on lots of different angles; everyone took something different from it. We would recommend it being read in long chunks, and recommend a second reading . Interesting enough to google author!
An easy read and a well-woven mystery. The theme of twinship was a good discussion point.
Slow to get into, but most people loved it after they had read about 40 pages. A couple of members didn't enjoy the book, as they thought there were too many words, and not enough happening. Most thought it a very unique and unpredictable book, and enjoyed it very much.
Diversity of opinion between some who disliked the book, and those who loved the book. Some appreciated the mystery which gripped their imagination.
An excellent read! Overwhelmingly enjoyed by our members. Hard to put down. One of our best choices.
Our discussion was very interesting, as 3 started the book but didn't like it (too dark and Gothic) - others enjoyed it. The brother and sister were very odd, and the twins unusual - very evocative of Jane Eyre and Great Expectations (as said in the notes), dark and creepy. Provoked very vigorous discussion.