Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Thirteenth Tale


This was a fabulous read and I devoured it, one of those books that once you pick up it is difficult to put down, which meant a late night and two afternoons reading in the shade, what a hardship that was. This a first novel from Diane Setterfield, I just hope she plans to write more as she certainly  knows how to write a really good story. It has all the elements of a murder mystery with suspense plus twists and turns that had me intrigued right to the end. My suspicions and ideas were not always right either which always adds to the impact of a novel for me.

The story is centred around the two female protagonists Margaret Lea, the narrator of the story and Vida Winter. Margaret Lea is a true booklover having spent all her life surrounded by books, now helping her father to run the family business an antiquarian bookshop.  Margaret has a fascination with biographies and has had some short biographical studies published. It is because of this that Vida Winter a well known authoress writes to her. Vida now an elderly lady is not  well and she has decided that she wants to tell the 'true' story of her life before she dies and she thinks that Margaret is the perfect choice for this task.

Margaret takes the job and goes to stay with Vida Winter to carry out her commission. Margaret becomes so preoccupied with the story that she was hearing and writing that her own life fades into the background. As I found did mine the reader's as I became immersed in the gripping tale of Anglefield (the family home), the characters and the world of twins as we discover more about the lives of these two women.  You will eventually learn the secrets that have Margaret spellbound and make the story of Angelfield and its family tragedies such an entertaining read.

image from Google

I found this interview on YouTube which explains how long it took Diane Setterfield to write The Thirteenth Tale. It is very interesting and if you have some free time worth listening to, though be warned it is fourteen minutes long.


Diane Setterfield was born I discovered from Wikipedia on august 22nd 1964, so very recently celebrating her 46th Birthday. What I was particularly pleased to learn though was that she is working on a second novel.

More information on Diane Setterfield can be found by following these links.

Wikipedia - Diane Setterfield

Goodreads Author

Simon and Schuster


  1. I read The Thirteenth Tale a few years ago and loved it too! I think this book is similar to the movie "Memento" where after each read/watch you pick up more than you did the last time.

  2. I thought the book was fantastic...brilliant writing! I'm glad you agree!

  3. Ah, you are teasing my imagination on this one. I love mysteries.

  4. I haven't read this one but it sounds fantastic. I love the cover, too.

  5. Whitney - I agree there is more depth to it than there first seems.
    Some Birds - I hope she writes another one soon.
    Lakeviewer - definitely, do try and locate a copy if you can, I think you might enjout it.
    Talli - Your TBR/Wishlist must be growing thanks to my reviews!

  6. I read The Thirteenth Tale over three years and scored it a "9" out of 10 points (in my personal rating scale) and I give points sparingly! Highly recommend it.

  7. Great blog and very helpful reviews. Will keep visiting this site.
    Do visit my blog sometime -
    I would love to have your commments.

  8. This is one of my all time FAVORITE books! I have actually been planning on re-reading it so I can review it. It's on a long list, but you may have inspired me to get on it sooner than planned.

  9. Patricia - I do not know why it took me so long to get round to reading this. I am now hoping that Diane Setterfield will have a second novel published soon.
    vibha- Thanks for coming over from Book Reviews, am delighted you will be back. I will visit your blog very soon, thankyou for the link.
    Knox - Thankyou for calling by and commenting. Do let me know when you review it as I would love to read what you think.

  10. I have heard mixed things about this book, so I've been avoiding it. But your review has me very intrigued. I will add it to my (ever-growing) tbr list. So many books, so little time....

  11. I loved this one too! It's was a perfect gothic tale and I'm a sucker for characters that are avid readers.

  12. i have heard about this book but never picked it up. after that review, i will! i love the alternate (uk?) cover!

  13. Pam - Do give it a try as I would love to hear what you think I know exactly what you mean about the TBR pile and wishlists of still more I want to get hold of.
    Avid Reader - I did not think I was a fan of the gothic genre, but this one bviously proved me wrong!
    Priya - Thanks I hope you let us know what you think of it.

  14. Thanks for letting me know about this interview... Its always fascinating to learn more about writers and their methods of writing ... now,i have to read this book!!!

  15. Bedazzled - Thankyou so much for calling by and commenting, hope to see you here again. I am delighted you found the interview interesting and now want to read this book.


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