The Thirteenth Tale (408) – Diane Setterfield
Source: Library borrowed book
On the back cover:All children mythologize their birth… So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter’s collection of stories, which are as famous as the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as the yare for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.
The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself – all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter’s story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.
As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.
Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling but remains suspicious of the author’s sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them wile becoming finally, transformed by the truth themselves.
This book came highly recommended from a friend who has completely different taste in books than I do (actually she hates the books I love and vice versa), and although the back cover description kind of bored me, I gave it a shot.
I really liked this book. It kept me engaged the whole way through; there is a mystery to figure out and the characters are well rounded and the writing is in my opinion quite good.
Also, the main character Margaret has a love even bigger than mine with books, how can I not love her.
This book would make for a great book club discussion book too.
My rating: 4 out of 5.