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Diane Setterfield: The Thirteenth Tale

Fantasy Moon

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I have just finished reading this wonderful book this weekend and it must be spazzed about! Has anyone else had the chance to read it yet?

A quick summary - Margaret Lea is a simple loner that lives above the bookshop that she helps her father run. One day she receives a letter from bestselling author Vida Winter with a request to be the biographer of this mysterious writer. Amidst the story about sisterhood and ghosts, Margaret must come to terms with her own painful story.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. I must now go purchase a copy for myself! The many descriptions of how Margaret was more comfortable with the words of dead authors than with real people resonated with me.

The truth behind that elusive "Thirteenth Tale" is quite sad...
 

murraymint11

New Member
Reader's Digest Review

Here is a review I heartily agree with:

And so begins the core story: the story (Miss Winter's past) within a story (the friendship between the two women) within a story (Ms. Lea's present). Set in a crumbling old manor house, spanning generations of decaying nobility, the untold story is of wild twins left on their own, their crazy uncle locked by his own hand in a nursery, an old housekeeper and a crusty gardener.

It has elements that recall the classics: the extraordinary governess; the mad mistress; the adoration of siblings; a well-meaning doctor; interfering townsfolk; unwanted pregnancies; elopements; disappearances and returns; orphan children and mistaken identities; tragedy and evil and suspense and a good old-fashioned happy ending.
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The book is all tale. There is no war, no politics, no glamour, nothing but the personal. The true setting is the imagination: books, libraries, bookstores, reading, stories. It is a novel intended to celebrate invention.
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The Thirteenth Tale” is a book to savor dozens of times. Like a childhood favorite, it is timeless, charming, pure pleasure to read. It weaves reality and fantasy into a cozy colorful world where characters are both real and archetypal and the good life belongs to people who read. “The Thirteenth Tale” is a comfort book. A book to restore the spirit
 

Fantasy Moon

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It was a great book! It isn't going to be easy to write another one, she set the bar pretty high with this one.
I heartily agree with you on this point. I also hope that this novel gains more recognition among readers. At the moment it seems almost like a sleeper title that few people seem to know about or have read for that matter.

You know, I never had much motivation to read Jane Eyre until I read this book. I mean, I know I would have eventually found my way to getting it from the library, but this just makes me more intrigued by the possibility of reading it.
 

kathyNC

Member
I had been in a reading slump for a few months before I read The Thirteenth Tale. It motivated me to get back into reading seriously, which I have done with The Six Wives of Henry VIII. I had read a book about Elizabeth I a few years ago so my interest in that era was renewed. I ordered the movie "Elizabeth" from Amazon and it came today, so I'll be watching it soon.
 

Fantasy Moon

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I think I was in kind of a reading slump before I read that book too. Reading slumps are horrible, aren't they?

I look forward to the novel's re-read. I know this will be one of those books that I love to visit again because there were certain passages that I just had to go back and read even during my first run-through.
 

Diane

New Member
13th Tale

What a wonderful book. I too was in a slump and picked this off my stack of books to be read. I could not put it down or read fast enough, it was one of those books where you feel odd if you leave your house, as if you have been in a different world.
 

Arabian Gurl

New Member
This Book Is So A-w-e-s-o-m-e I finished it 2 days ago !! I Mean the characters are still in my head =] I loved the way the story is told I Loved Every single detail about it.. Its So Mysterious and Exciting .. I agree that ending Is S-a-d
 

Fantasy Moon

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Sofia told me that this novel is coming out in paperback soon. I wonder if it will receive a new cover? Oh, well. I don't have to worry because I have my lovely hardcover edition.

Maybe the cheaper price tag will bring more fans to the wonderful world of The Thirteenth Tale!
 

Maizara

New Member
Wow, this book is such a captivating read that I can't wait to read it again! The story is still lingering in my mind. What I like about this book is that the story gives the opportunity for readers to experience it again. With its mix of love letter to reading and mystery, it just pulls you in.
 

Fantasy Moon

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I read someone's review on a community and they gave this novel a bad rating. My initial reaction is shock because I think it's a wonderful book and find it hard to believe that anyone could not love it, but I have to remember that everyone has their different tastes.
 

Baddie

New Member
I came across this book after going threw the most selled books in June in Norway. Read the short summary of the top ten books. The Thirteenth Tale cought my mind and I ordered it. It's been lying in my TBpile for a few weeks. I picked it up on wednesday and finished it today. I wanted to finish it of much earlier since I liked the book, but all of you know that sometimes we have to do other things then reading.
I enjoyed the first about 50 pages, then there was a down periode to me, since I don't give up books, I read on. From page 100 to the end I felt like I lived in the story. I was the maincaracter that Ms. Winter told about. I hope that Diane Setterfield will put out another book soon, since I liked her style of writing.

And I've just ordered Jane Eyre, because of the The Thirteenth Tale.
 

mc2aug06

New Member
It was a wonderful book, I completely agree with you all. I definitely look forward to reading other books by her.
 

sanlee

New Member
I too loved this book. The writing is beautifully lyrical and the story captivating. I loaned the book to my daughter, who has already selected it for her book club. Can't wait to get it back though. I will be reading this one again.
 

jneni

New Member
I bought the paperback edition ^.^

Really love this book too, the story is very captivating. Once you start reading, you won't be able to put it down until you finish it! The language is simple yet concise and beautiful. Setterfield certainly weaved reality and fantasy together in the most extraordinary way; I must admit that I didn't realize the existence of a 'third' until 3/4 of the book >.< Can't wait to read her next book!

And oh, recently I bought another copy of Jane Eyre too LOL
 

n_maw

Member
I finished reading this book yesterday. I must admit that it took me a very, very long time to read (at least a month) because I hit a lull about 1/2 way through. Once over that hump I couldn't put it down and finished it very quickly.

It was beautiful storytelling and I too now want to reread Jane Eyre. It occured to me about 3-4 pages before it was revealed, "what if there was a third?". Was pleasantly suprised that I caught it beforehand. This is the type of book that you could read again with "fresh" eyes and find the clued that you missed beforehand.

A question in the reading group guide is "Is a secret harder to keep . . . or to confess?" What do you think?
 
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