Tag Archives: diane setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

I had never heard of this book until it was selected for book club – quite a pleasant surprise.

Here’s the blurb …

 Vida Winter, a bestselling yet reclusive novelist, has created many outlandish life histories for herself, all of them invention. Now old and ailing, at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to biographer Margaret Lea – a woman with secrets of her own – is a summons. Vida’s tale is one of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family: the beautiful and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling, but as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction and she doesn’t trust Vida’s account. As she begins her researches, two parallel stories unfold. Join Margaret as she begins her journey to the truth – hers, as well as Vida’s.

I really enjoyed this book. It was gothic and atmospheric. The story unfolds in fits and starts and there are a few things mentioned in passing that turn out to be quite significant (keep your eyes open!). I couldn’t work out the period in which the novel is set (and it doens’t really matter), there were lots of letters being written (rather than phone calls) and Margaret’s camera had film (how quaint!). I found the ending to be very ambiguous – exactly who died in the fire (and that is all I’m going to say on that).

This is Ms Setterfield’s first novel and I do hope she is busy writing another novel.

More reviews …




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