Kathy's Reviews > The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
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Sep 10, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, mystery, gothic
Recommended to Kathy by: Lori
Read from October 21 to 25, 2010

Sometimes I am so random about what I choose to read after finishing a book. It might be just what comes across my path at that time. I have books I've been meaning to read for years that I still haven't gotten around to, but I decided I should at least try harder to read books that have been recommended to me. I'm going to stop getting recommendations if I keep ignoring them! So that's how I came to this book. It was recommended to me by my cousin, Lori, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It definitely picks up the mood of books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and celebrates a love of books and words. It made me wish I had grown up in an old bookshop, or could at least work there! The writing was really good and the story was interesting and hard to step away from. We've had some rainy and cold weather while I've been reading it and even got some thunder and lightning the other night. I highly recommend that setting while reading this! The ending was one of those where I think, "Ahhh, now I have to go back and read the book again and see how I missed that" and wish I had been smart enough to figure it out.

Just a couple of complaints. There was one section describing the actions of a couple of disturbingly heartless people. I felt like what they did was spelled out a little bit too much. I think it would have been nice if the author had taken her cue more from those old books she obviously loves so much and implied things a little bit more in that section, leaving those with the maturity to understand knowing what had happened without giving too many details. I think that part would hold me back from recommending it to a teenager where otherwise I probably would. Then at the end there were just a couple of minor things that kind of bugged me, but not enough to ruin the book, which overall was so well done and a pleasure to read.

There were many passages I loved, but here is one to give an example.

People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.
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Quotes Kathy Liked

Diane Setterfield
“People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in the ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.”
Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale


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