Monday, May 18, 2009
Review: The Thirteenth Tale
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield is a pretty remarkable debut novel. It tells the story of a famous and reclusive author, Vida Winter, who hires a troubled young woman, Margaret Lea, to write her biography. The book consists of Vida telling Margaret her life story, and Margaret's research in finding out the truth behind Vida's story. Margaret has her own secrets, though, and she and Vida find themselves uncovering each other's stories. It is a real Gothic tale - spooky and strange - and draws on some of the great old Gothic romances, most especially Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.
It took me awhile to get into this book. I read about the first third and then put it down for a week or two while I read some lighter fare. But once I picked it up again, I tore through to the ending, eager to know the end of Vida's story. I, for one, did not see the plot twist coming at all, and I even flipped back a few times once it was revealed to see if I could find any clues the author may have left in the earlier part of the story.
This book made splash when it came out a couple of years ago, so lots of other bloggers have already reviewed it. Here are a few:
Maw Book's Blog
Devourer of Books
The Book Lady's Blog
As you can see, I am not alone in enjoying this book. Book lovers and fans of books by the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen will particularly like this book.
Buy The Thirteenth Tale on Amazon.