Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: The Thirteenth Tale

I could review this book in one sentence: This is one messed-up family, but its a family that makes for an enchanting story.

This is a book that reads like a fairy tale. Bookshop assistant and minor biographer Margaret Lea is summoned by dying writer Vida Winter to write the latter's life story. Winter has lived and secretive and reclusive life, and Margaret will be the first to get a look at her past. What she finds when she arrived is a story of abuse, abandonment, and twins helplessly devoted to one another. In the course of writing Winter's life story, Margaret will be forced to confront a tragedy in her own past.

I was fully enthralled and engrossed in this book. Once I started I read at every spare moment until I was finished. This is a novel full of gothic atmosphere and mystery. I must say that I found Vida Winter's story far more engaging than Margaret's. Margaret struck me as a fairly annoying individual. Luckily she is mostly a foil for the story of Vida, her family, and her childhood home.

Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale (Atria, 2006) ISBN: 0743298020

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Read this book some time ago and I also really enjoyed it. Definitely a strange family. Gripping reading plus a few creepy bits thrown in for good measure.
Good review.