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Group Books Under Discussion > The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

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message 1: by Wes, Moderator (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
This is a spoiler/discussion page for our February book:
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Read and comment at your own risk.

message 2: by Lisa (last edited Jan 30, 2008 06:05AM) (new)

Lisa | 42 comments It's a little early to be commenting too much on the story because I don't want to give away the big secret of the story. It will be good to see if anyone gets the secret before the end... I totally missed the mark. Anyway that is for later.
The secondary plot of Margaret and her story was my favorite part. The themes of everyone having a story, why people read, appreciate a good just satisfies the book-a-holic in me.
Happy Reading.

message 3: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (wanna_read_all_the_books) I'm waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail. I'm hoping it'll be here by Friday so I can work on it over the weekend. Patience is so not one of my virtues.

message 4: by Samantha (last edited Feb 01, 2008 03:52PM) (new)

Samantha (stripeyspots) I really enjoyed this. It was so easy to slip into and I felt that her main character is so identifiable as the reader in us. Somehow she taps into the exhilaration of books and reading that all readers share. I never saw the plot twist coming and that was a relief. One gets tired of second guessing authors. Looking forward to more.

message 5: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) I will eventually read this book and give my comments but right now I am in the middle of a series.

message 6: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (wanna_read_all_the_books) I finally got my copy in the mail today and will start it tonight or tomorrow.

message 7: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melon) | 10 comments I read this book last year. I really enjoyed it.

message 8: by Angie (new)

Angie Finished the book! I thought this was a great book. Great plot, with something new at every corner. I would've never guessed at what happens.

message 9: by Symbol (last edited Feb 09, 2008 06:33PM) (new)

Symbol Just finished the book early this morning. Excellent!
I was so sure that I knew exactly what the twist ending was going to be. Turns out I only got it part right. There was a niggling at the back of my mind. I was so close! But I couldn't quite make the leap to the final answer. I really enjoyed it though.
I loved the characters' appreciation and respect for books. As Samantha said, very easy to identify with.
The last section was a nice touch as well. So many books tempt you to their grand finale, tease you along, reach their climax... and just stop. If this is being done for effect, that's one thing. If the author wants to force the reader to think critically or form their own conclusions, to speculate on the outcome, okay, fine. But often, I find, this doesn't seem to be the goal. It just feels lazy. It was very refreshing to have some sort of proper denoument in this book. To have all the ends tied up and neatly tucked away.
I was not crazy about the Post Scriptum. To me, it seemed superfluous and irrational. It marred an otherwise brilliant novel. It did not ruin it for me though. I still greatly enjoyed the story overall.

message 10: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (stripeyspots) There was something about the way she described her love of old books that I felt instantly connected too. When we were children my mom used to take us to a charity used book store and to this day I prefer a secondhand hardcover to a new. I care less about paperbacks but there is something about a well used harcover, preferably with a hand written inscription in the front that just fascinates me.
Another comment on the book is how reminiscent it is of the gothic style novels. The Jane Eyre's and Wuthering Heights's of the world had that lovely sense of melodrama - just enough, not too much - and I think that comes over nicely here as well. And its a credit to the author because melodrama can easily become silly and she keeps a nice firm hold on the romance.

message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 42 comments .................Spoilers........................I thought the story was going to be a ghost story or that it was some kind of supernatural twin twist or out of body experience. I never thought that there might be a third sister. I wished I had read Jane Eyre before reading this because I knew it had some part in the secret and I thought I was missing it because I had never read Jane Eyre.
Near the end Margaret resolves her personal issues,realizes she uses books as an escape and realizes that reading can be dangerous. It never occured to me that reading was hazardous to health. I like to escape into a good book, but these characters really take it too far.

message 12: by Angie (new)

Angie I agree with the Jane Eyre comment! I wish I might have read it before this book as well. It is on my "to read" list anyways... and then I should be able to see the connections to this book.

message 13: by Symbol (new)

Symbol I was just wondering: Does anyone have any insights as to the purpose of the Post Scriptum?
I have to admit, it confused me a little bit.

As L mentioned above, this book could have easily been turned into a ghost story or some other sort of supernatural excursion, but it wasn't. Everything was explained. Everything that seemed mysterious was elucidated. There was no ghost. The March sisters did not have some sort of strange power. So why, at the last minute, bring this element into it? Why have Margaret's dead sister visit her?

I understand that this was a way to tie up loose ends and that this showed that Margaret would stop dwelling on her lost sister and go on with her life. However, I didn't think that this fit with the pattern of the rest of the book. There would have been other ways for Margaret to come to terms with her loss. Why the ghost visit?

Any thoughts?

message 14: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 42 comments I don't know either. Maybe she wanted to go the supernaural route, but at some point took the story in the other direction and then tried to get back some of the chill factor with Margaret's sister. It tied up loose ends like Symbol said but it was the only part of the book that didn't fit.

message 15: by Carol (new)

Carol Evans | 13 comments I, too, wish I had read Jane Eyre. I felt like I missed something.

I could have done without the dead sister's visit, too. I guess it showed that Margaret had reached some kind of closure, but it didn't have the same tone as the rest of the book.

message 16: by Jen (new)

Jen | 15 comments I read this book a few months ago and did enjoy it. Originally, they hyped it to those who enjoyed "The Shadow of the Wind". To anyone who enjoyed this one, please consider reading "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It holds the same core based upon a love and passion for books. "The Thirteenth Tale" - just not quite as good.

message 17: by Angie (last edited Feb 13, 2008 09:11AM) (new)

Angie I totally agree about "The Shadow of the Wind". I actually read that one first and I enjoyed that book more.

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree with Angie and Jen that " The Shadow of The Wind" is the greater book and recommend it to anyone who loves the beauty of words as well and a wonderful story.
Back to The Thirteenth Tale. I enjoyed the book and found it very imaginative and of the same genre as the gothic novels which are mentioned numerous times. Jane Eyre, The Woman In White,etc.
There are no real ghost in the old classic tales as well.
I agree that Margaret"s visit from her long dead sister in the final chapter seemed out of sync despite the obvious closure aspect. It just did not seem to fit.

message 19: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) Curious how a books sometimes chooses you.

I began reading this book yesterday (am not very far in because of pesky interruptions and necessary sleep) and came across this passage:

The words from the letter were trapped in my
head, trapped, it seemed, beneath the sloping
ceiling of my attic flat, like a bird that has
got in down the chimney.

Very bizarre since JUST THAT MORNING, I had to have a starling removed from my chimney. It had tried to get in to stay warm and ended up stuck inside, making a terrible racket.

Just found all of this to be rather interesting and coincidental.

message 20: by Charity (last edited Feb 20, 2008 08:16AM) (new)

Charity (charityross) I found this to be a very enjoyable read...intriguing and richly layered.

This book just screams, 'Make me into a movie'...but, I have a feeling that if that were to happen, it would end up resembling something like Fried Green Tomatoes...only darker.

I can't say that I agree with the previous posts concerning The Shadow of the Wind. I found myself bored senseless around the middle of the book and had to put it down and pick it up several times in order to finish it. The beginning was strong and the ending was neatly tied up, but the sloppy middle made my head ache and my nerves stand on end. The Thirteenth Tale, however, kept me rapt until the end.

I do agree with the posts regarding Jane Eyre and the feeling that this reading would have been more complete if I had read Jane Eyre first. I have been meaning to read Ms. Bronte's book for a while now, but after reading The Thirteenth Tale, my interest has piqued considerably.

An excerpt from my review:

The overall premise was excellent and the delivery was masterful. I truly appreciate the bibliophilism and bibliomania that runs rampant throughout the book. The references to Jane Eyre, in particular, make me curious about the parallels to this story and push it to the top of my to-read list.

message 21: by Tana (new)

Tana Harrison I finished today. A bit late, sorry!

I enjoyed the story. The one thing that I kept coming back to was the same sentence that Margaret used. "Tell me the Truth". There were so many truths and so many lies that each person in the story held something to the story. How true is that of life? What do we know that could be helpful in someone else's life? What does someone know about us? or our lives? Interesting concept.

message 22: by Ben (new)

Ben I wanted to wait since I read the book shortly after it came out. I didn't like the book very much I found the writing dull and the story just didn't seem to go anywhere. I could be wrong.

message 23: by Sara (new)

Sara I really enjoyed this book,I was not sure how I would like it at first but after the first chapter I was hooked.

message 24: by Debra (new)

Debra (debrapurdykong) I loved The Thirteenth Tale and wrote a review about it. The story still stays with me all these months later.

message 25: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreag) | 27 comments I think this is one of the best written Gothic novels in recent history. Setterfield didn't try to force a romance into the story, the suspense elements were well done, the plot twist was unexpected but not completely impossible. Though I completely agree with Symbol's comment about the Post Scriptum being superflous - kind of jarring at the end.

message 26: by Wes, Moderator (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
I just realized I did not discuss this book yet. I too like Ben did not enjoy the book as I thought I would but I did read it cover to cover and the characters were not what I expected but the imagery was good.
Weak story with good writing is my opinion.

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