Jen3n's Reviews > The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
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's review
Jan 23, 09

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, horror, literature, mystery
Read in January, 2009

I love this book. I just finished it about a quarter-hour ago and I'm still grinning from ear to ear. My face hurts. It's not that it's a happy book, but it got me. Oh, I didn't see it coming. It got me. When it happened I felt like I was smacked in the face, and, when I recovered, I laughed out loud because I SHOULD have seen it coming. Ms. Setterfield, while subtle, was never vague or misleading: but, as with Turn of the Screw (one of the many books made reference to and borrowed from in the story), everything is laid out for you and the conclusion depends entirely on whether you, the reader, believes in ghosts or not.

Sort of. I'm makeing an analogy. In a way. It's complicated.

But this is a wonderful book. Well written, engaging, suspenseful; full of characters who are whole people (no pun intended, in light of the plot) as opposed to characters. I'm overly fond of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, and also of Gothic Romances... and of mysteries and horror and high literature and histories and books about books... The Thirteenth Tale seemed to me to incorporate the juiciest bits from all those genres. The most important part is the "books about books" bit: this story read like it was written by someone who is in love with words and story.

Then again, all my favorite authors, from Neil to Jane to William and back again, all write like they're in love with story. And with books, of course.

It was a pleasure to read this novel.

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