Eminent author Vida Winter has given twenty wildly divergent accounts of her life to as many reporters over the last few years, so when she contacts bookish Margaret Lea, asking her to write her authorized biography, Margaret is not only surprised, but leery as well. She tentatively accepts, with the caveat that she be allowed to check the facts she’s given.
These facts turn out to be true, however unlikely. Margaret finds herself untangling a plot right out of her beloved 19th Century gothic classics–Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Woman in White, among others. All the elements are there, family secrets, madness, missing persons, the mansion ruined by fire. And ghosts, several varieties of them.
Setterfield pretty much nails it. She gets the tone right. Her plot, though convoluted, is, with one exception, credible. She writes wonderful sentences. It’s a book overflowing with stories and a whole lotta fun.