The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
This book gained popularity some time in the last year or two and while mildly intrigued, I just wasn’t all that eager to rush out and get it. However about 5 or 6 months ago I did end up seeing it at the thrift store for $2 and if only to send it back out in my book swap for a credit, I decided to pick it up. And so it has sat on my bookshelf since, proudly distinguishing itself from the rest of my books with its beautiful cover and spine, but nonetheless remaining untouched while I guiltily indulged in a flurry of young adult books this year.
In the beginning of the year, I finished book 3 of Christopher Pike’s Alosha series. You may remember that I read Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini and greedily consumed Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series. I later turned to Westerfeld’s Midnighters books, which paled a bit by comparison. Of course, I read Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. Then a co-worker whom I put on to the entire Twilight Saga happened to have The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith, which another Sugar member recommended to me. So having just finished the four published books of The Vampire Diaries, I asked my husband to pick out my next reading material.
How could I be surprised when after a short moment at one of my bookshelves, he picked up The Thirteenth Tale? It draws you, this book does. Still I really didn’t know anything about it, so I opened and read the inside cover. Family sagas, a ghost! Can this really be what I’m interested in reading, I wondered. Sounds a little boring, I thought, and I hate ghosts! But my husband picked it out for me as I had asked him to. I made my bed, now I had to lie in it.
I gobbled it up from the very first page to the last. Margaret receives a letter from world renowned author Vida Winter who finally wishes to reveal the truth of her past and commissions Margaret to write her biography. Margaret gets tangled up in Miss Winter’s story of scandalous affairs and troublesome twin girls, while dealing with her own struggles having lost a twin sister herself. The somewhat gothic, twistedness of the family history served to satisfy my craving for drama but Setterfield’s glorious writing is what really grounds the book. Having gorged myself on all that YA reading, I was consumed by her lovely storytelling and my body and mind felt oxygenated and restored. In the end, I was left sated, content and fulfilled.
Highly recommended. 5 stars