Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Publish Date: 2006
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Length: 406 pages
"Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise — she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.

Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story.

Both women will have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets... and the ghosts that haunt them still.
 " (Goodreads)

The Thirteenth Tale was one of those books that I was aware of, but never added it to Goodreads or anything. I have a copy in my classroom library and thought the cover was cool, but that was as far as my interest went. We decided to read it for our June Book Club meeting, so I bought a copy for myself and started reading it when school got out. 

This is a timeline of my feelings as I read: 
Little slow to start.
Hmm...that's interesting. 
And now I'm sad that it's over :(

I loved The Thirteenth Tale. Like, really loved it and gave it 5 stars which is pretty rare for me. The beginning was a little slow as we get to know Margaret and the mysterious Miss Winter, but then it really picks up the more you learn about the latter's past. There were all sorts of twists and turns that I didn't expect and I felt like I was on the edge of my seat for the last 200 pages. 

Read this if you are looking for something different or if you just need a good book. I don't reread very often but I get the feeling I'll be rereading this at some point so see what I might have missed the first time around. Let me know what you thought if you've read it too!

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