Kati
Kati asked:

I'm about halfway through and can't figure out when Margaret Lea's story is set. I'm thinking sometime between 1950 and 1970, since there are cars but she takes notes using a notepad and does her research using print books and newspapers. Did I miss the mention of a year?

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C.E. O'Grady In an interview a while back Setterfield explained how she purposely set her novel in an ambiguous time. I had the same question and hunted down the answer from the source. Enjoy! It's a great read.
C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.) Not squeezing technology into everything we do, does not imply an old era. I make notes by hand and read real books. I never doubted we were meeting the biographer in 2006: publication time! Although households started to have PCs by 2000, the internet was only dial-up. It's still dial-up in rural communities, like mine! Books and newspapers remain invaluable to researchers of any era. Internet articles are only as sound as the people who input them.

Our best indicator of 2006 is the baby born before the sisters vacated that house! He is seemingly only a little older than the protagonist he befriends. I believe even the town doctor and ex-house manager were alive. If doc and the research lady were 30 when Vida was 10 or more, there are fewer than 20 years between them. I put Vida at age 65. She and her sister perished from diseases rather than ancient age, despite having the air of being older. If we subtract 55 years from 2006 to get Vida at age 10: 1951. If they left at about age 20, it was circa 1961 and the baby is 45 in 2006. That's my detecting effort! :-)
Alexis Lamb I think Setterfield was intentionally very vague about the time in which the story unfolds, and it's left to each reader to come up with their own interpretation.
Aileen The Angelfield story (so far as I've gotten to date) sounds like it could easily be from the 20s/30s, which would put Margaret's narrative in the 1980s/1990s.
That's when I'm placing it, anyway!
Kay I also kept trying to figure out the time setting but, ultimately, I decided it didn't matter. There was also much vagueness about how much time passes and what ages people are.
Mickey I think the fifties. No wars going on, very little technology, and research on twins being "new".
Helen Coombs
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Ayla I tend to agree with Kati they mention the twins mother being dragged off to the asylum in what I thought they referred to as some sort of carriage. And she writes with pencils no mention of recorders. World War 11 made things a bit hectic in England so Margaret may have been writing this as early as 1930.
Renee Please know, that in early half of the 1900's, many areas in rural England still did not have - or had limited - electricity. There was a mention of going to bed with a hot water bottle. A friend from the northern part of England remembers doing just that - she's 71 at the time of this post (2017), so that may put a rough date time frame.
Majka There was no mentioning of specific era, but I had a feeling that it took place around 1950-60s, as there were cars, phone was luxury, all the research took place in library or through correspondence, that would mean that twin story took place in the beginning of 20th century - which would explain that Charlie could do anything without punishment. The movie though is happenning around 1990s.
Isabel They don't say the year but I think it was during the 90's... Maybe not, but that is how I imagined it :)
Cassie Was coming here to ask the same question!
Michele Hayes I was wondering the same thing.
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by Diane Setterfield (Goodreads Author)
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