Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Review: The Thirteenth Tale

on January 23, 2009

A friend recently recommended “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield. It looked like a mystery (but not a crime novel), so I plunged right in. “The Thirteenth Tale” is a Gothic tale of mystery and intrigue. This story-within-a-story captivates and holds the reader. I personally had difficulty putting it down between chapters!

In the story, the protagonist, Margaret Lea, is chosen by a famous yet reclusive author, Vida Winter, to write her official biography. Margaret is an intellectual introvert – a woman who lives among her books and book characters (and appropriately resides within a bookstore). As Vida’s story begins to unfold, we are introduced to a cast of unforgettable characters. And as Vida reveals her life’s secrets, we begin to understand Margaret’s as well.

I truly enjoyed this book (which I got from the library). Yes, I did find that it included just about everything under the sun in terms of family mystery and drama, and yes, I did find the conclusion rather implausible – though clever. Setterfield lays out all the clues for you to figure it out for yourself if you so choose; she’s a bit of a modern day Agatha Christie.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy Gothic mysteries, and to those who, like Margaret, truly love books.

I give this book 4 Stars!

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