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#22 ~ The Thirteenth Tale

cover-of-the-thirteenth-tale

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

It took me a while to read this book, but that is not because it wasn’t interesting and delightful. Suffice to say that sometimes work gets in the way of life. I completely enjoyed reading a Gothic ghost story once again. I keep forgetting how much I enjoy them. There’s something about a misty, haunted moor filled with secrets and lies to keep my interest until the very end.

The narrator, an avid reader, lives above her father’s bookstore. From a very young age Margaret spent a majority of her time reading. Her ability to read expanded once she began working at the store full-time. The store is full of exotic books, but it is not the main way in which their livings are earned. Her father has a knack for finding the most difficult books. Four of those sales a year is all they need.

Her life is sheltered within this world of books until she is offered the opportunity to write the biography of one of Britian’s greatest living novelists. Vida Winter spent her life spinning tales when asked about her private life. To Margaret, she wants to come clean. Margaret’s family also has its secrets that keeps her at arms length from her mother. After some discussion with her father, she accepts the position and makes a temporary move to Ms. Winter’s estate.

The world of shadows, ghosts, and mentally unstable relatives unfolds for Margaret during sessions with the author in her library. As Margaret tries to tie together loose ends and prove to herself that Ms. Winter is not making a fool of her, the reader is, too. The rules that Ms. Winter put in place about not asking questions and not jumping ahead in the story are as tantalizingly frustrating to the reader as they are to the narrator.

The conclusion to this book is reminiscent to many other Gothic novels. Asylum bPatrick McGrath , which is my favorite novel in this genre, came to mind. I finished the book with satisfaction. It was nice to not feel disappointed. The fact that I wasn’t longing for more is far from negative. It felt complete and that is a joy to me. Not everything has to end with Scarlett tormented on the stairs determined to get Rhett back after first rejuvenating her soul at Tara.

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7 Comments

  • At 2008.06.03 03:02, Thank You to My May Visitors said:

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    • At 2008.07.07 15:18, Thank You to My June Vistors said:

      […] Chair and a Good Book Mrs. S from Blue Archipelago Debi from Nothing of Importance Jennifer from Literate Housewife Review Kim L. from Bold. Blue. Adventure CB James from Ready When You Are, C.B. Care from Care’s […]

      • At 2008.08.04 01:13, Thank You to My July Visitors said:

        […] from Randomness Laura from Reading Reflections Michelle Softdrink from Fizzy Thoughts Jennifer from Literate Housewife Review Danielle from Living in the Sunshine Bethany from B & B Ex Libris Serena from Savvy Verse & […]

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          • […] it.  This time, it left me on the fence.  I will need to ponder it for a while.  It, along with The Thirteenth Tale and The Sister, has reignited my love of Gothic novels and prompted me to buy some similar novels, […]

            • […] House at Midnight is set in current time, those places can be deliciously eiry and full of mystery. The Thirteenth Tale, The Sister, and The Little Stranger are all strong examples of what I love in stories of this […]

              • […] someone who loved the stuffings out of The Thirteenth Tale, I was excited to pick up this audiobook despite the less than glowing things I’d heard about […]

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