Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

Also reviewed by Kari, Heather, and Mindy

Summary:A compelling emotional mystery in the timeless vein of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, about family secrets and the magic of books and storytelling.Margaret Lea works in her father's antiquarian bookshop where her fascination for the biographies of the long-dead has led her to write them herself. She gets a letter from one of the most famous authors of the day, the mysterious Vida Winter, whose popularity as a writer has been in no way diminished by her reclusiveness. Until now, Vida has toyed with journalists who interview her, creating outlandish life histories for herself - all of them invention. Now she is old and ailing, and at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to Margaret is a summons.Somewhat anxiously, the equally reclusive Margaret travels to Yorkshire to meet her subject - and Vida starts to recount her tale. It is one of gothic strangeness featuring the March family; the fascinating, devious and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret is captivated by the power of Vida's storytelling. But as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction, and she doesn't entirely trust Vida's account. She goes to check up on the family, visiting their old home and piecing together their story in her own way. What she discovers on her journey to the truth is for Margaret a chilling and transforming experience.(Summary and photo compliments of Barnes and Noble .com)

My Review:It is hard for me to write this review. As Heather said today over coffee, you can't review it how you would like to without giving the entire story away.

That being said: I REALLY enjoyed this book. I had just finished a couple books, historical fiction, that I loved, so I was very nervous that this one was going to pale next to those. But it didn't, it held it's ground as a compelling, and ever so creepy tale.

Vida Winter at first comes across very cold, but you find yourself sinking into the enchantment of her story. Margaret Lea is slightly detached at the beginning, but you find yourself yearning for her to find the peace that has escaped her for many, many years. All the characters, including a "friendly giant", come to life with intricate storytelling and plot lines that will leave you spinning. Setterfield has created a "Tale" that holds onto it's secrets until the very last pages: The Thirteenth Tale.

There it is,short and sweet and it doesn't give away ANY of the good stuff!

My Rating: 5 stars

If I Had To Sum It Up In One Phrase: Delightfully Eerie.

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