Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Thirteenth Tale

Book 7 of my 2014 Reading Challenge

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Summary (via the book jacket)

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself.  Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long.  Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life of gothic strangeness - featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.  Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

My Opinion

I loved the beginning of the book, reading about Margaret's love for the bookstore she grew up in.  Nothing for me will replace the feeling of exploring a library or used bookstore - so many possibilities, so much history.  Shiny new books or electronic books are better than no books at all but they don't settle my soul like a pre-loved paperback.
Overall, I liked but didn't love this book. I like her writing style but didn't become absorbed in the story the way I expected to, and after so much buildup, the big reveal ending felt a bit rushed.  

  Quote from the Book

"It came again, the abrupt loss of voice.  So used was she to hiding the truth that it had become atrophied in her."

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