The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale

by Diane Setterfield


Judy Stanton: I was not immediately sold on The Thirteenth Tale. But, once hooked, I had to read regularly and voraciously to find out "the truth." I enjoyed the characters and the novels twists and turns. I liked the author's format of having the famous English author tell her story to a young woman; the parallels in their lives; and the discoveries unfolding as the young author tests the veracitiy of the tale she is being told. I like the homage paid to "the story," in the sense that we all have at least one, and that "the truth" and "the story" aren't always one and the same.

The only thing that I didn't buy was the simplistic characterization of some of the people in the book. Do some people really spend nearly all their life holed up in a bedroom...such as Charles and Margaret's mother. In today's day and age, it would be harder for Vida Winter to remain a mystery.

Arlene Almas: "The Thirteenth Tale" kept me spellbound from beginning to end. A bookish young woman cannot resist the lure of writing the biography of a wildly popular yet mysterious novelist. There are ghosts (but are there?) and secrets, the riddles of twinship, and not one but two huge old houses with puzzles of their own. I have stayed up too late for many nights because I couldn't stand to put this book down - it had me mesmerized. I recommend it very highly.

Gale Reid: The Thirteenth Tale is the story of Margaret Lea, a loner, working in her father's antiquarian bookstore and Vida Winter, England's most popular but illusive novelist. As different as their lives may seem, there is a strong thread binding them together which becomes apparent when Margaret is summoned to serve as Ms. Winter's biographer.

Margaret Lea must research layers of false stories and lies and Vida Winter must commit to tell the truth about her past before she dies.

There is a very Gothic feel to this story with numerous references to Jane Eyre, the windswept British countryside, and secrets that permeate the air. With skillful writing and unique character development, The Thirteenth Tale is a page-turner and a great read. There are not too many books that are both literary and have best seller qualities, but this is one of them.
Rating: ****

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