This one is a popular choice for several challenges, and I picked it for the Something About Me Challenge. After hearing great things, I was excited to take this one as my vacation book to Alaska. While I didn’t get much reading done on the trip, I was able to finish the rest of it during our 5 hour airport-wait and 5 hour plane ride home from Seattle yesterday.
I really enjoyed this book. The frame story is of Margaret Lea, an avid reader and amateur biographer, who is commissioned by the prolific novelist Vida Winter to write her biography. Margaret doesn’t quit understand Winter’s choice as she has never picked up one of her books (she prefers the Gothic classics), but she agrees to write Winter’s biography under a number of conditions. The frame story was OK–Margaret bothered me in a number of ways and I wanted to scream at her several times “Get over yourself!!” But I didn’t.
The story within the story, though, is what captured me. I really don’t know what to say about this story without giving anything away, but it is a dark story, haunting, gothic, tragic, and gripping. As Winter tells her tale, Margaret also begins to piece bits of the story together through her own means, and she, as I did, becomes enraptured in the ghostly tale. I loved that I couldn’t quite figure this one out until the moment of revelation. You know its there, something fishy, I turned every scenario over and over in my head, but… When the moment did come, I had to flip back and re-read entire passages just to see the puzzle pieces fit. Love it! And can I just say that I loved the references to Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Willkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, etc etc. I would definitely recommend this one!