Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

thirteenth tale

Reviewed by: Aimee
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Page count: 416 Pages
Rating: 4/5 stars
In stock: On order

There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”

This quote from The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield perfectly describes my experience while reading this book. She captivated me right from the beginning, drew me into her world of books and eerie family secrets that comes to life through the protagonists, Margaret Lea and Vida Winters.

Margaret Lea is a part-time biographer and a full-time book lover. Growing up her in father’s antiquarian bookshop, her attachment to books comes honestly and consumes nearly all her time. When she receives a handwritten letter from the mysterious and well-loved author, Vida Winters, Margaret is requested to personally record Miss Winter’s life story before it is too late, because she is gravely ill.

Margaret, who astonishingly is one of the rare few who has never read any of Miss Winter’s books, is taken back by the odd request and is therefore compelled to pick up one of her many novels. She begins with her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation and is immediately enthralled in the world of Miss Winter’s imagination, but when she reaches the end, Margaret realizes the thirteen tale is missing.

Intrigued by Vida Winter’s personal proposal and the lack of the thirteenth tale, Margaret Lea willingly accepts Miss Winter’s request. Through Vida Winter’s retelling of her own story, haunting secrets and gripping ghost stories emerge from not only her life, but from Margaret’s as well.

The Thirteenth Tale is a book for people who love books. I was hardly able to set it down and engage in real life while I was reading it and am still haunted by Diane Setterfield’s novel. Full of shocking twists and turns, Setterfield continually surprises you. If you love books, especially with a Jane Eyre vibe, I would highly recommend this one. “There are too many books in the world to read in one lifetime; you have to draw the line somewhere.” Make sure this one makes the cut.

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