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Archive 08-19 GR Discussions > 13th Tale *spoilers likely*

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message 1: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2564 comments Mod
Emily is on vacation still I believe so her discussion will come later I just wanted to open a thread for general discussion on the book.


message 2: by Holli (last edited Jan 01, 2009 05:56PM) (new)

Holli Oh the pressure of all these "first time participating" members....I hope I lead this discussion well enough that you join in for other ones!! lol

I'm going to be filling in for Emily as I loved this book and I hope that we all enjoy discussing and dissecting it as much as we loved reading the novel. I thought this book was fantastic and I'm anxious to start hearing what you all thought too. I'm going to post 5 questions at a time each week so it doesn't get too terribly confusing and you may answer what you wish. Here we go..........


1. When do you think The Thirteenth Tale takes place? The narrator gives some hints, but never tells the exact date. Which aspects of the book gave you a sense of time, and which seemed timeless? Did the question of time affect your experience with the novel?


2. Miss Winter asks Margaret if she’d like to hear a ghost story – in fact, there seem to be several ghost stories weaving their way through. In what ways is The Thirteenth Tale a classic gothic novel?


3. What did you think about the characters Margaret, Miss Winter, and Aurelius – the three people in the novel who are each haunted by their pasts. Which was your favorite?

4. It is a classic writer’s adage that a symbol must appear at least three times in a story so that the reader knows that you meant it as a symbol. In The Thirteenth Tale, the novel Jane Eyre appears several times. Discuss the appearances and allusions to Jane Eyre and how this novel echoes that one.

5. Much of the novel takes place in two grand estates --- Angelfield and then Miss Winter’s. How are the houses reflections of their inhabitants?




message 3: by Maria (last edited Jan 01, 2009 07:50PM) (new)

Maria | 92 comments Ooh good questions! I particularly liked question #1. For some reason I started the book out thinking it was like a 18th-19th century setting. But then later I switched to thinking it was actually modern. I unfortunately can't rememember what made me think either. But I definitely recall having difficulty making the mental switch.
#3 I think I liked Aurelius the best but sort of by process of elimination. He was such a friendly guy. Ms. Winter was kinda rude and scary! And although I did think Margaret was in some ways a bold heroine - I couldn't quite understand the obessive sadness of her twin's death. It just seemed so heavy.

In general I enjoyed reading 13th tale. The mystery was very intriguing and enjoyed the author's writing style. Following Margeret's detective work was exciting. I did however find a couple things very troubling to read - Charlie and Isabelle's sick and twisted relationship and also the conditions that the twins were raised in. I read in a someone's review that they were most disturbed that the author just seemed to write about those events matter of factually - with not a lot of repulsion to them. I also had a mixed reaction to the ending. On one hand I was suprised. But on the other hand I didn't think it was believeable the half-sister could be mistaken for an identical twin of Emmeline.
But again - did mostly very much enjoy this book and it "gothic-ness".


message 4: by Shannon (last edited Jan 01, 2009 08:54PM) (new)

Shannon | 4 comments I have read the13th Tale. It seemed a little contrived, yet I was intrigued and wanted to complete it. I too felt frustrated that I could not put an actual historical date to the story. At times I enjoyed the mystery of trying to figure the time period out based on the information given. However, I started to second guess myself and felt that I MUST be missing something and had to go back and re-read to make sure that I hadn't - then I was frustrated!!!


message 5: by Faith (last edited Jan 02, 2009 03:04AM) (new)

Faith Quick (faithbquick) | 39 comments i am with maria on question #1. i too felt it was 18th-19th century. then the computer was mentioned and recording device was mentioned and then i felt the cab and train ride were modern esque. so i too became confused and never felt i was able to deduct the time.

#2 a classic gothic novel....i have no idea...except maybe for the mystery that surrounds the "main character" and winters and how the mystery intensifies throughout the entire novel until you don't know what is up or what is going on.

#3 margaret although i don't feel as if her mystery was REALLY solved.

#4 it echos jane eyer in it's sadness. it's mystery right up to the end. figuring out what makes the "main character", winters so dark, so sad, so different from happiness/from everyone else. and how margaret is drawn into that life thinking that her salvation has come but in reality her doom had just begun.

#5 oh my! the places are a reflection on their characters! the mansion is big, myseterious, cold, warm, intimate, and intimidating like winters....where the other house is warm, cold, organized to the extreme, in it's place, open to possibilities if only one is willing to open them, and full of lifeless/colorless/intrigue and expectancy/suspense all at the same time.






message 6: by Kristie (new)

Kristie (spedkristie) | 385 comments 1. I would like to think that it took place in modern times....I keep floating between the 50's and 70's, but no clue as to why.

3. I loved Ms. Winter. Her intrigue and prowress totally captivated me. She wanted Margaret to figure things out mostly on her own, but left subtle enough hints in her story that Margaret never knows if the story has concluded.


message 7: by Dolly (new)

Dolly (dollya) 1. I thought somewhere in the 20's for some reason when the original story started when they were living in Angelfield, but then I thought to modern times for the remainder of the story.

2. I think it seems to be a dark story for the majority of the book.

3. For some reason, I enjoyed Aurelius story. I was able to link it fairly quickly while I was reading though. I guess I felt for the lost soul...

4. The sadness in the story to me.

5. The houses, both grand yet there was a sadness and mystery to both of them to me. Her descriptions had me imagining to myself what it would be like to walk in the homes, especially the burned out description.


message 8: by Rachel (last edited Jan 02, 2009 07:05AM) (new)

Rachel (rachel_c) | 5 comments #1 - At first I assumed the story was set in the current time. But then noticed how correspondence always happened by post instead of email, and nobody seemed to have a cell phone.

#3 - Aurelius & Margaret were certainly more amiable. However Miss Winter was my favorite because while she had her own haunted past, she did something about it. She actively changed, wrote, managed and lived. Even the parts that she fictionalized or ignored for a while, she did intentionally. She chose to make up stories about her past to the other biographers. Aurelius and Margaret were much more passive about their pasts.

#4 - I have a confession .. I've never read Jane Eyre.

#5 - I liked how others explained it in the posts above ... I guess the only part I would add is how the decline and decay of Angelfield mirrored that of the family.

Holli: Bah, pressure! As one of the newbies, I can say that I am just happy to be here and taking part in my first discussion. I'm sure you will be great. :)






message 9: by Maria (last edited Jan 03, 2009 12:25PM) (new)

Maria | 92 comments rachel - you make such a great point about Ms. Winter - it took a lot of strength to gather herself and perservere on after such a crazy background



message 10: by Holli (last edited Jan 03, 2009 06:58AM) (new)

Holli 1. When do you think The Thirteenth Tale takes place? The narrator gives some hints, but never tells the exact date. Which aspects of the book gave you a sense of time, and which seemed timeless? Did the question of time affect your experience with the novel?

At first I thought it was set back in the 1900's but I quickly figured out that didn't make sense. Towards the middle of the book I got the sense it was maybe the 1960's or 1970's. I didn't feel it was in the eighties or present time but you are left wondering if it could be. I thought that was an interesting part of this novel...the timelessness of it. It drew you into the story more I thought because it really was a story that could have taken place in any time. It added to the experience.


2. Miss Winter asks Margaret if she’d like to hear a ghost story – in fact, there seem to be several ghost stories weaving their way through. In what ways is The Thirteenth Tale a classic gothic novel?

A Gothic novel combines both horror and romance and I would say that The 13th Tale has a little of both. Both are alluded to throughout the novel and the crumbling old house and withered up old woman who seems a tad bit eccentric at times definitely fits the bill. With a man who is a "giant" and a scarred sister who roams the gardens at night this novel was creepy enough to classify it as gothic.


3. What did you think about the characters Margaret, Miss Winter, and Aurelius – the three people in the novel who are each haunted by their pasts. Which was your favorite?

I felt Margaret was the narrator of the story, we were supposed to learn things and see things through her. My only problem with Margaret was her dead twin sister. I never quite understood what she had to do with anything besides showing why Margaret was so despondent and solitary most of the time. Vida Winter was the most interesting person in the novel to me...I really loved her uniqueness and her ability to wrap me up in her story wanting more and more from her. I loved how real she was. Very tangible. Aurelius was a truly sad individual but I didn't connect with him as much as I connected with Vida.

4. It is a classic writer’s adage that a symbol must appear at least three times in a story so that the reader knows that you meant it as a symbol. In The Thirteenth Tale, the novel Jane Eyre appears several times. Discuss the appearances and allusions to Jane Eyre and how this novel echoes that one.

I've never read Jane Eyre but I'm really curious to see what all of you that have will say about this question. I got that the author was using it as a symbol throughout the book but I didn't understand why.

5. Much of the novel takes place in two grand estates --- Angelfield and then Miss Winter’s. How are the houses reflections of their inhabitants?

Angelfield disgusted me and there is no way I would be able to stand to live in that filth. I was excited when the nanny came in and cleaned everything up like Mary Poppins. That house was perfect though as it showed how much the inhabitants were covering things up like the dust covered the house and things were left to stew and fester on their own just as they were doing in the people who lived there. Vida's house was ornate and opulent but also orderly and run like clockwork which is how she wanted and needed her life to be.




message 11: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments 1. I agree with Holli; the timelessness of this novel added to the experience.
2. I agree with Kelly Jo's assessment of this novel as more of a modern gothic.
3. I connected with Margaret from the very first page; her love of books and even her despondence concerning her twin, also her seeming isolation. I think that the "twin" was used as a way to connect the two; Margaret and Vida Winter. I found myself kind of scared of Vida Winter in a weird sort of way and felt only sorrow for Aurelius.
4. Although I haven't read Jane Eyre either, my thoughts on the continuous reference was to illustrate that we the readers should think of Vida Winter as a great author such as Charlotte Bronte.
5. Angelfield seemed to reflect the downfall of the family living within it. At first it seemed grand, but then fell into the filth and disrepair as the family disintegrated into what I can only term as madness. I was also excited when the nanny cleaned the house all up. I agree that the orderliness of Miss Winter's home reflected how she wanted her life to be.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I'm not ready to answer the Q's yet, but, at the risk of being flogged, I'm not liking this book and I'm over 100 pages into it! * Possible SPOILER: I went from being bored (with the writing and story) to frustrated (seemed to go on & on without going anywhere) to disgusted (with the twisted violence). I'm sticking with it in hopes that the tide turns!


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Kelly Jo, I agree! To me what makes something scary or disturbing is a suggestion or what you cannot see & therefore are led to imagine on your own. I was a little startled by what I've been reading because it just doesn't seem necessary since it hasn't been billed as that type of book as far as I've seen.


message 14: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) | 467 comments I've been having trouble getting into it, too. I'm gonna keep plugging and chugging though, based on what you gals have said. Should I be prepared to be disturbed beyond belief? I'm worried now... hahaha


message 15: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (samaranthine) | 10 comments To expand upon the connection between Jane Eyre and this novel:

I have read Jane Eyre but it's been several years. I do feel that Margaret and Jane are similar characters, and the two stories have very similar elements. But mainly Jane Eyre itself lives in the 13th tale as a testament of the enduring power of literature and story. Jane Eyre was a timeless novel like the 13th tale, the purpose of which was to make them relatable throughout the centuries. The best classic novels are the ones you could re-imagine in modern times and the story would still be applicable. The novel Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights and all those books are symbols in and of themselves, a symbol that without stories to tell the whole human race would be worth so much less.

The turning point in the 13th Tale for me was when Ms Winter asks Margaret a hypothetical question that reveals the true nature of both of their characters. If you had to choose between saving the life of a stranger, or saving all the copies in the world of all your favorite books from being incinerated, which would you choose? It's that question that I feel is more prevalent than any other question. I admit I had to give that question a lot of thought myself.

Great discussion by the way!! I'm new to the group and loving it.





message 16: by Holli (new)

Holli Thanks Samantha for your thoughts and your insight into the Jane Eyre connection. I really liked what you had to say!

Jo......what violence are you talking about? I'm not remembering anything gory in that book.......

I've read two or 3 books since that one now and now those are more in my head than The 13th Tale is.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) *Spoiler* Holli, not exactly gory violence but disturbing nonethelesthe children cutting themselves with the rusty wire, how the brother always tried (and many times succeeded) hurting his sister, her brother raping women, the father seeing he attacked the daughter when she said she was leaving (riped out a tuft of her hair & flesh, her bruised eye), her brother putting her name into his shin with the needle, the dr's wife getting hit in the head by someone, the twins pushing the baby's carriage down the hill... From the reviews and the book jacket, I wasn't prepared for this kind of stuff to be in this book and find it disturbing. So far it's not what I expected.

Samantha, welcome and well said!!!


message 18: by Holli (new)

Holli I guess that stuff didn't register with me as being gory....I thought it just added to the macabre story and even though I flinched a little at the brother and the needle, nothing else really disturbed me. Books and movies are entertainment for me and when watching or reading them I just don't let any of that bother me. I take it with a grain of salt...the only thing I don't like reading about is violence to animals. And in movies I can't stand torture stuff such as Hostel or Saw.

That's just me though.....I can see other's sides too and I know that different things bother different people for their own personal reasons. Thanks for letting me know the scenes you were thinking of.....I can see where you are coming from now!! ;)


message 19: by Thauna (new)

Thauna I'm sorry to say that I think I'm going to give up on this book and move on. I just can't get into it and I'm not even curious. I'm almost to a 100 pages and I've had to push that far. It's not so much the story that isn't grabbing me, probably more of the style of writing I think. I started reading the thread before I finished hoping that I'd find something in the discussion that would make me want to keep read, but no.

The discussion is going so well, good leading Holli you're doing awesome! ;o)

I'm sorry to bail on this one........


message 20: by Pam (new)

Pam (pammylee76) I didn't think I would like this book, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Yes, there were times it was a little disturbing such as realizing the true parenthood of the twins. But something about it kept making me want to read it.

1. I have no idea when this was supposed to take place, and I didn't really think about it until I was 3/4 thru the book and read that question. Then it started bothering me that I didnt' know and was having a hard time trying to figure it out.

2. the ghosts, the "mad" characters, the dark secrets.

3. I don't know that any of them were my favorite. I was glad that Aurelius got his happy ending, and it seemed that Ms. Winter just wanted someone to know of the troubled past. As for Margaret, I really didn't like the story line with her twin and besides the connection with Ms. Winter, thought it was almost pointless. I didn't really see the purpose in the coninuation of that storyline, especially at the very end. I agree with the statemet that it felt forced.

4. I also have not read Jane Eyre. But thanks Samantha for helping understand a connection between the two.

5. I agree with what Cindy said. Angelfield was a grand estate in it's day, when the family was happy and there was so much love. As the family declined so did the house. I also agree that Ms. Winter's home is a reflection of the orderliness that she desired and finally got.


message 21: by Katie (new)

Katie (katieisallbooked) | 319 comments I started this on audio yesterday and I'm through the first 2 CDs. I was hooked by the 1/2 way point of the first CD. I love reading about reading and books! I find myself sitting in the car for a few extra minutes after I pull into the garage just so I can listen to just a few more minutes.

I'm not ready to answer the questions yet, but I'll be back!


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Thauna, I may be joining you on the bail out with this one! I'm still trying though! Overall I think it's the writing (style) for me as well that's doing me in!


message 23: by Mary Jo (new)

Mary Jo (mjgemelke) | 20 comments I got the impression that the violence was added into the plot to make you think that there was a 3rd person involved in the story. In order to get that idea, you had to understand how evil the brother was and what he did to the girls. I can't say that I blame the young lady for dumping the girl on her father even though I could never do something like that. How was she to know that the girl wouldn't be just like him. I'm glad that the Missus and John the dig took her in and taught her so many lessons that made her "normal".

I was sure that when they found the bones that they were going to be those of the tutor. So glad to read on and find out that she escaped to America. I got a kick out of the fact that the doctor eventually made his way back to her.

Although the story was hard to get into, I did enjoy reading it.


message 24: by Holli (new)

Holli Yes Maryjo...I agree about your reason for the violence. That makes alot of sense to me. This is book I'd like to read again now that I know the ending. I bet I'd pick up on alot more the second time through.


message 25: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments I agree Holli; feel like I need to read it again even though it's only been a couple months, to be able to discuss it better!


message 26: by Holli (last edited Jan 08, 2009 06:20AM) (new)

Holli NEW QUESTIONS


1. Miss Winter frequently changes points of view from third to first person, from “they” to “we” to “I,” in telling Margaret her story. The first time she uses “I” is in the recounting of Isabelle’s death and Charlie’s disappearance. What did you make of this shifting when Margaret points it out on page 204?


2. The story shifts significantly after the death of Mrs. Dunne and John Digence. Adeline steps forward as intelligent, well-spoken, and confident --- the “girl in the mists” emerges. Did you believe this miraculous transformation? If not, what did you suspect was really going on?


3. When did you first suspect Miss Winter’s true identity? Whether you knew or not, looking back, what clues did she give to Margaret (and what clues did the author give to you)?


4. Margaret tells Aurelius that her mother preferred telling “weightless” stories in place of heavy ones, and that sometimes it’s better “not to know.” Do you agree or disagree?



Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) 1. Miss Winter frequently changes points of view from third to first person, from “they” to “we” to “I,” in telling Margaret her story. The first time she uses “I” is in the recounting of Isabelle’s death and Charlie’s disappearance. What did you make of this shifting when Margaret points it out on page 204?

I believe Ms. Winter's shifting point of view has to do with her own removal from events as she grew up, how she viewed things inside of her own mind. The most removed she felt from her own self (the most inside her mind she was) ='s the use of "they," and so on.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I have kept reading because I found myself wanting to know what happens - I'm not sure if I like the intentional similarities to Jane Eyre or not yet.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Oh and you're all going to think I'm nuts, but when I started reading page 221 someone SNIFFLED IN MY LEFT EAR as though someone was reading over my shoulder - I was in bed, fully awake, my husband sleeping on my right side, my end table on my left side and a light was on. I was startled, tried to replicate the noise (even by sniffling myself) and couldn't. I noted it on the page and went back to reading.


message 30: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) | 467 comments Spooky!!!!


message 31: by Dolly (new)

Dolly (dollya) 1. Miss Winter frequently changes points of view from third to first person, from “they” to “we” to “I,” in telling Margaret her story. The first time she uses “I” is in the recounting of Isabelle’s death and Charlie’s disappearance. What did you make of this shifting when Margaret points it out on page 204? I thought her shifting points of view were a little bit of how she wanted to make a mystery of her story until the end.


2. The story shifts significantly after the death of Mrs. Dunne and John Digence. Adeline steps forward as intelligent, well-spoken, and confident --- the “girl in the mists” emerges. Did you believe this miraculous transformation? If not, what did you suspect was really going on? Not sure what to say to this one, that was part of what was interesting about this book.


3. When did you first suspect Miss Winter’s true identity? Whether you knew or not, looking back, what clues did she give to Margaret (and what clues did the author give to you)? Probably 2/3 of the way through I had the suspicion but I wasn't sure until later on.


4. Margaret tells Aurelius that her mother preferred telling “weightless” stories in place of heavy ones, and that sometimes it’s better “not to know.” Do you agree or disagree? It depends on how much sorrow is in the stories, if it is too bad sometimes it is nice not to know (ignorance is bliss), but sometimes it is necessary to know even sad things. I could really relate to this part of the story myself.



message 32: by Dolly (new)

Dolly (dollya) Jo said: Oh and you're all going to think I'm nuts, but when I started reading page 221 someone SNIFFLED IN MY LEFT EAR as though someone was reading over my shoulder - I was in bed, fully awake, my husband sleeping on my right side, my end table on my left side and a light was on. I was startled, tried to replicate the noise (even by sniffling myself) and couldn't. I noted it on the page and went back to reading.

Jo that was weird about this, you were really getting into the book huh? :)


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I wouldn't say I was actually into reading it until well after the sniffling incident last night - I had just settled down & opened it to pick up where I left off, started reading & it happened. Odd. We live in apartments built in the early 70's, so I suppose there's the possibility of a visitor now and again (2 of our elderly tenants have passed away in their apartments elsewhere in the complex since we've been here). A literary ghost is a somewhat pleasant idea actually!

But a thought just occurred to me - my copy of The Thirteenth Tale is second hand, not brand new. I bought it used at the library. It didn't even look as though it was read. Hhhmmm...

While I can't remember much of Jane Eyre right now, the connections between the 2 books, loosely, is the someone living in secret in the house, people conspiring to protect (hide) that person, the impression that the house is haunted as a result, a mentally unstable woman, a fire that burns the home down...

Margaret was more haunted by the pain she perceived her being alive did to her mother (and father?) than by the idea of her twin sister but the shock of learning of her dead twin brought her sister to life for her as well as the pain of her passing. I think part of it was guilt too, knowing she was a constant reminder of death though alive.


message 34: by J. (new)

J. Tayse (mrstayse) | 23 comments 1. I am sure the author did this on purpose. Someone said there was a reference to a computer but I did not see that when I read the book. The author refers to carriage houses, trains, posts (for letters), but she also refers to cars, wind-up cameras, and screws a pencil sharpener to her desk. She can make cocoa in her bedroom. They have camp-stoves and electricity. They still go hunting. People in Miss Winters time still live on estates. You have to think this is a turn of the century story.

2. Very gothic - elements of Poe throughout, esp. in the description in the houses, gardens.

3. Well I think Margaret is just plain weird, frankly. I thought she was mad in the beginning. The stuff with the mirrors and thinking her twin was alive or with her. Just plain cuckoo. And I think Miss Winter was a hoot. She left breadcrumbs for Margaret to find all over her story, she just had to find them. I truly liked Aurelius. He was so sad and it was not his fault people hid things from him.

4.Well there is a mad character in Jane Eyre and there you could debate about who is insane (is is Adeline, Vida, or Margaret) and there is a fire in Jane Eyre and a fire at Angelfield.

I would also argue that Shadow is a symbol. I think for Margaret, Shadow is a symbol of the twin she is has lost, maybe?? What do you ladies think?

5. Angelfield is a reflection of the desolation of the people who live there. The people who live there are in chaos, mentally. Therefore, the house is in chaos. When Hester comes, she brings order, and the house is orderly. When she leaves, it is a disaster again. When the boy is born, this destroys the relationship between the sister. Therefore, the house has to be destroyed.

I have to think about Miss Winter's House.





message 35: by J. (new)

J. Tayse (mrstayse) | 23 comments New Questions

1.Frankly I found the shifts annoying and to be a bit trite on the part of the author. I didn't think they were a brilliant literary device or anything. Although I noticed that they started to happen when Adeline started to become sicker, so they symbolized the split that was happen in "real life", not just was going on in the story. But I found that part, or literary device to be boring. Sorry!

2. The whole "girl in the mist" thing was also annoying. The ghost thing bothered me from the start and I knew something fishy was going on and I couldn't figure it out. So I knew something was up but I couldn't quite "put my finger on it" so to speak. I didn't really know what was going on but I knew it was something weird.

3. pg. 349.

4. I think people need to know the truth, most of the time. Finding out later in life usually does more damage than you want. Like finding out you were adopted and you never knew, or finding out you had a sister or brother that you never knew of, or that your father isn't your father. These things your parents might not tell you because they are trying to protect you. But if you find out later, especially if you are a teenager when you find out, this stuff can do a lot of damage. I know that I found out some stuff when I was a young adult about my mother's family that she hid from me. She was trying to protect me; she felt that what I didn't know wouldn't hurt me. But when I was a child, I could sense the pain in people and I never understood why people were hurting. And so I still hurt. If I had know what was going on, I might have been in a better place. So I definitely think it's better to tell than to hide.


message 36: by J. (new)

J. Tayse (mrstayse) | 23 comments Also, you have to crack-up about the criticism the doctor had of Austen and his "prescription" to read Doyle. I found that very amusing.


message 37: by Mich (new)

Mich | 150 comments i read this to become involved in the monthly book discussions and as i read it i tho't, oh lord WHY? it wasnt one of my favorite books, i tho't about my 50 page rule but kept going hoping it would get better. the BEST part was when miss winter asked about saving a stranger vs saving your fav books from being burned. that REALLY made me think! and i'm STILL not sure how i would answer!
i'm not sorry i read it but i cant say i would recommend it.
i LOVE the discussion tho without a doubt!
GREAT JOB holli on making us 'think'


message 38: by Katie (new)

Katie (katieisallbooked) | 319 comments I'm on disk 8 out of 13 disks, still not ready to answer the questions and I'm avoiding reading everyones' posts because of potential spoilers. Overall I'm enjoying the story. I get bored easily if I'm not drawn completely into a book. I haven't had that problem with this one.

I will admit that this book is scaring the crap out of me at times. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to scary things so no surprise. Good thing I'm listening in the car and not at home alone. I don't think I could handle that. I read Jo's story and it gave me goosebumps! I have felt like I was hearing whispering voices in the car during especially creepy parts. Not sure if it's built into the audiobook or if I just have an overly active imagination.



message 39: by Stacy (new)

Stacy (sjhensley) | 101 comments NEW QUESTIONS


1. Miss Winter frequently changes points of view from third to first person, from “they” to “we” to “I,” in telling Margaret her story. The first time she uses “I” is in the recounting of Isabelle’s death and Charlie’s disappearance. What did you make of this shifting when Margaret points it out on page 204?
I think that Vida was an outsider until Isabelle and Charlie disappeared. Then she only had to worry about hiding her identity from the townspeople.


2. The story shifts significantly after the death of Mrs. Dunne and John Digence. Adeline steps forward as intelligent, well-spoken, and confident --- the “girl in the mists” emerges. Did you believe this miraculous transformation? If not, what did you suspect was really going on?

I actually thought Vida was going to turn out to be Emmeline, and that at some point, she took over Adeline's identity. Emmeline would be more likely to converse with others than Adeline.

3. When did you first suspect Miss Winter’s true identity? Whether you knew or not, looking back, what clues did she give to Margaret (and what clues did the author give to you)?

See # 2. The tenses were one clue.

4. Margaret tells Aurelius that her mother preferred telling “weightless” stories in place of heavy ones, and that sometimes it’s better “not to know.” Do you agree or disagree?

I think Margaret's story wasn't very interesting at all. I think the sense of mourning for her twin was not realistic. Would she have felt incomplete if she hadn't found out about her twin? There is nothing to indicate that she was having problems before she found out the truth.

I felt sorry for Aurelius; he had a lot of sadness to deal with.

I found Vida the most interesting character. I did enjoy the book despite a few weak parts.


message 40: by Stacy (new)

Stacy (sjhensley) | 101 comments A few more comments:

I forgot to mention that the other character I really liked was John the dig. His love and care for the girls really moved me. That's how I knew Vida could not be Adeline. There was no way she could have killed him.

I wonder about a few things. Was Isabelle really the one who tried to kill the doctor's wife, or was it Adeline? They never really explained why Isabelle would do this, they just sent her off to the asylum.

Also, since Vida was such an accomplished writer, how did she learn how to read? Hester couldn't have taught her because she didn't know about Vida's existence. I doubt the housekeeper or John the dig knew how to read.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Sorry Katie! And I've listened to a few books which have some affects in the backgrounds so it could be that!


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) John the Dig knew how to read and taught Vida using garden catalogs - she tells Margaret towards the end but I don't remember the page #.

Twins have an almost supernatural bond, whether or not they know one another. I think Margaret's life would've continued to feel out of sorts even had she not found out about her twin because of how her mother treated her and how her father had to act one way towards her mother & in almost a secret way towards Margaret.


message 43: by J. (new)

J. Tayse (mrstayse) | 23 comments Stacy wrote: "A few more comments:

I forgot to mention that the other character I really liked was John the dig. His love and care for the girls really moved me. That's how I knew Vida could not be Adeline...."


John the Dig. I really liked him as well. He def. is a character that has "more than meets the eye".

I really don't know who tried to kill the doctor's wife. I am still puzzled about that.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I think it was Adeline. It didn't make sense to me that Isabelle could've done it. I do understand how by looking at her they choose to take her away.


message 45: by Holli (new)

Holli I also thought it was Adeline and they just assumed it was Isabelle.

John the Dig was my favorite character after Vida. A kind soul who tried as hard as he could to make things normal in that crazy house. He had to deal with more than anyone ever knew.....great man!


message 46: by Holli (new)

Holli THE REST OF THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. After Mrs. Dunne and John Digence die Adeline steps forward as intelligent and confident -- the "girl in the mists" emerges. Did you believe this miraculous transformation? If not, what did you suspect was really going on?


2. Why do you think Margaret obeyed Miss Winter's summons to come to her estate and talk with her?

3. Do you think it was Adeline or Emmeline who was saved from the fire?

4. My own question I had while reading the book was...... "Do you think it is harder to keep a secret or confess the complete truth"?

5. Were you satisfied with the way the story ended for the characters?


6. What do you feel is Vida Winter's "thirteenth tale"?





message 47: by Holli (new)

Holli 1. Miss Winter frequently changes points of view from third to first person, from “they” to “we” to “I,” in telling Margaret her story. The first time she uses “I” is in the recounting of Isabelle’s death and Charlie’s disappearance. What did you make of this shifting when Margaret points it out on page 204?

I felt that meant what she was saying was an important event in her life and that she was deeply affected by it. But now I'm not so sure considering she wasn't "their" child.

2. The story shifts significantly after the death of Mrs. Dunne and John Digence. Adeline steps forward as intelligent, well-spoken, and confident --- the “girl in the mists” emerges. Did you believe this miraculous transformation? If not, what did you suspect was really going on?

I didn't believe the transformation and I suspected there was maybe another child but I wasn't sure yet. Either that or Adeline had been pretending to be a wild child and really wasn't.


3. When did you first suspect Miss Winter’s true identity? Whether you knew or not, looking back, what clues did she give to Margaret (and what clues did the author give to you)?

I started to suspect her identity about 3/4 thru....I really wasn't trying to figure out the story. I just wanted to read it and experience it as it happened.

4. Margaret tells Aurelius that her mother preferred telling “weightless” stories in place of heavy ones, and that sometimes it’s better “not to know.” Do you agree or disagree?

I completely disagree. I feel the heavy stories are what matters and I'd rather delve into the weighty stuff instead of the fluffy stuff any day. The fluffy stuff doesn't matter....to me its the heavy stuff that lets me know someone's soul.



message 48: by Dolly (new)

Dolly (dollya) I'd like to respond to question 4 Margaret tells Aurelius that her mother preferred telling “weightless” stories in place of heavy ones, and that sometimes it’s better “not to know.” Do you agree or disagree?.

I also disagree. Sometimes we may not like history and it can be heavy at times, but it can be a learning experience and help us to not make mistakes again. You just need to have a balance of the bad and good things in life so you don't go bonkers.


message 49: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (slkmcb) | 36 comments I read this when it first came out and really liked it. i am so glad that we are revisiting it as a chicks on lit discussion!

I love John the Dig. He is one of those characters I am drawn to.
Poor Missus. She just had her old hands full.
the whole Isabelle/Charlie relationship was a little disturbing.
this book just has so many elements that really work together.


message 50: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 19 comments 1. Miss Winter frequently changes points of view from third to first person, from “they” to “we” to “I,” in telling Margaret her story. The first time she uses “I” is in the recounting of Isabelle’s death and Charlie’s disappearance. What did you make of this shifting when Margaret points it out on page 204?

I honestly was surprised by tthe revelation of a 3rd girl. I was reading this as a "ghost" story and was expecting it to go down that road. I attributed the changing points of view the fact that Vida was an ill elderly lady.

2. The story shifts significantly after the death of Mrs. Dunne and John Digence. Adeline steps forward as intelligent, well-spoken, and confident --- the “girl in the mists” emerges. Did you believe this miraculous transformation? If not, what did you suspect was really going on?

I didn't believe the transformaion. I thought the death of John the Dig was so tramatic to the girls that Emmeline retreated and Adeline emerged.


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