The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

2007
05.04

The Thirteenth Tale Margaret Lea leads a reading life in her father’s antiquarian bookstore, making a modest living writing short biographies of interesting, if little known, dead people. Then the famously reclusive author, Vida Winter, asks her to write Winter’s own biography. Margaret is puzzled by the invitation. The solitary woman is known for her habit of publishing conflicting accounts of her life, all of which have been proven to be utterly fictitious. Still, Margaret is intrigued, so she accepts the challenge of teasing the truth out of Vida. As Vida begins to spin a Gothic tale of an insane mother, a set of feral twins, a ghostly gardener, and a tragic fire, Margaret begins to question whether or not she’s being told the truth. She wants to believe Vida, but her own deep, dark secret, also having to do with damaged siblings, makes her question the writer’s every word. Can Margaret trust Vida’s story? And as the tale grows more grisly, does she even WANT to? This wonderfully chilling suspense novel, a 2007 Alex Award winner has a slow build and a stunning conclusion. This book reminded me of Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and of course, the now classic Flowers in the Attic. Go ahead, try and put it down after the first chapter–I dare you!

2 Responses to “The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield”

  1. Eugene says:

    I read this book a couple weeks ago and I loved it. The plot was twisting and confusing but that’s what made the ending so good. It was a great book and I couldn’t put it down when I got into it.

  2. jen says:

    I agree, Eugene, it was an amazing book!

    Thanks for writing in to Reading Rants, and please keep checking back–I’m trying to post new reviews weekly.

    best,

    Jen

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