The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
(4 / 5)
Yes, this is a book for book-lovers! If I see that phrase in one more review of this one I think I’m going to scream! So just to be fun, I decided to LISTEN to this book on audio (because I’m a rebel like that… and I had severe morning sickness which rendered me unable to read 3 lines in a book without puking for over three months). It wasn’t the 5 screaming stars that I was almost expecting from reading some of my friends reviews, but I did like it a lot.
Our story begins when Margaret Lea, a biographer, is sent a letter from one of the most famous authors in Britain, Vida Winter. She is dying and wants Margaret to write her life story. Confused, as Margaret usually only writes biographies of long dead people, and also because Ms Winter is well known for her secrecy, Margaret decides to travel to Ms Winters estate and talk with her. Of course she agrees to write the book, and thus the tale of Vida Winter beings.
And it is quite a tale. Twists and turns and more twists and some more turns, and then a MASSIVE twist which I never saw coming. But when it did come, it was a little bit too unbelievable for me. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t stop the story from being fabulous, but it was just a little bit much.
I found the story of the girls at Angelfield so fascinating. What a life! I really enjoyed the gothic atmosphere and all the drama.
I thought Margaret’s obsession with her dead sister was extremely well written and quite unnerving. It keep the tone of the novel quite brooding and dark.
I didn’t mind the shifts back and forth in time, and enjoyed the somewhat slow unravel of the truth.
The audio version was really well done. I love when audiobooks have more than one narrator. It really helps keep the characters separate, which I believe is really important. Often when listening to audiobooks, I can get a bit lost if the narrator is a monotone and is reading all the characters in a similar voice. Different actors really enhances my listening experience! And the two women in this one were fantastic. They really differentiated the characters completely and made it extremely easy to follow.
Would I recommend The Thirteenth Tale?
Yes, it was well worth reading. A touch slow in parts but overall it was a gripping novel with lots of twists and turns and sometimes had unnerving subject matter.
I read The Thirteenth Tale with a local book club, purchased on audible at my own expense.
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