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Archive: Other Books > The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield - 5 stars

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

The Thirteenth Tale begins with Margaret Lea, an antiquarian bookseller, receiving a letter from Britain's most popular novelist of the day, Vida Winter. After years of creating a series of alternative events of her life, Miss Winter wants to tell her true life's story before she passes away, as her health is quickly failing. She has chosen an unaccomplished biographer in Margaret Lea, but one she connects with at a deep level I could not understand until further along in the book. Margaret agrees to go to Yorkshire for a meeting with Vida, still quite unsure of accepting the commission. Margaret seemed to have little intention of writing the to biography until she found out that Vida Winter had a twin. This little detail of Vida’s life catches Margarets interest since she too has discovered she was a twin. Vida begins the story of the strange and reclusive Angelfield family, and as a reader I wasn’t even sure who Vida was, so this was quite the tale. This story is so strange that Margaret is unsure if Vida is just deceiving yet another writer, or if she is finally telling the truth. During the interview process, while Vida is too ill to continue the tale, Margaret does a little detective work to check on the validity of Vida's claims. How the author has intertwined Margaret seeking the facts and Vida's tale are so brilliantly done by the author that I was left wanting for more. In this tale Vida introduces interesting characters, such as Adeline and Emmeline March, the Missus, John-the-dig, Dr. Maudsley, and Hester Barrow. But most fascinating and bewitching are the foundational members of the Angelfiield family, Charlie and Isabelle. In these two characters you feel hate, madness, perversity, along with sorrow and some sympathy. I am not sure when the last time was that I have read a book that had so many major characters and that I had empathy for all of them. The author, Diane Setterfield’s descriptive writing of the gardens, the gothic mansion, along with the character development left me struggling to lay the book down.

The culmination of this novel is surprising but also heartwarming in a way that I did not expect. The author states near the end of the book that she will have closure on all the characters in the novel and she does, but does she really? I'm still slightly unsure of the final outcome of the mansion's fire as pertaining to Adeline, Emmeline and the ghost, but I am also quite sure. This story is a fragrant, descriptive tale that I did not want to end.

message 2: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments This sounds really great Rachel. Thanks for your review.

message 3: by Jgrace (last edited Jun 03, 2018 05:50PM) (new)

Jgrace | 3112 comments One of my favorite books. It was a very good audiobook. It's also one of those books that refers to other great books. Added to my enjoyment.

message 4: by Magdalena (new)

Magdalena | 414 comments Fantastic review! I just entered the giveaway they're having for this right now!

message 5: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9390 comments Oh how I loved this book! It was an altimeter favorite! So glad you all loved it too. Wonderful review, Rachel.

message 6: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) The Thirteenth Tale keeps coming up in rec's and references. I'm not quite sold on it, but I'll reconsider again!

message 7: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 485 comments I loved this book and used to recommend it all the time.

message 8: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 430 comments Beautiful review of one of my favorite books of all time. This one brought me back to the unadulterated wonder and awe of reading I felt as a kid. Brilliance.

message 9: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments So many rave reviews! That’s a good sign.

message 10: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2300 comments I loved this one too and really liked your last sentence in the review!

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Amy recommended this book to me and it is by far one of my favorites this year. I absolutely loved this book.

message 12: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Diane Setterfield has a new book coming out early 2019, Once Upon a River! I never read her second book, Bellman & Black because it got some pretty bad reviews, but here's hoping her new one is more on par with The Thirteenth Tale. Which I also loved!

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Nicole R wrote: "Diane Setterfield has a new book coming out early 2019, Once Upon a River! I never read her second book, Bellman & Black because it got some pretty bad reviews, but ..."
Only 1/2 through this book I looked her up to see her other books. Because I loved this one so much. Bellman & Black seems to have terrible reviews. Her new one is to be released January 2019 and from the reviews I've seen it is being spoken highly of so I'm excited to read that one.

message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9390 comments I second the poor reviews for her second novel. I clearly the third is going on my list as well.

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