Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Thirteenth Tale was Diane Setterfield's debut novel in 2006. Please note that this review does not contain spoilers. If you have read this book, you know how hard this review was to write without them.
Where does one begin to summarise The Thirteenth Tale?
It's a story about a bookseller turned amateur biographer. It's a story about twins. It's a story about siblings. It's a story about what lengths you are prepared to go for your family or what the love of your family members may cause you to do. It's about hidden identities. It's about a family. It's about a garden. It's about an old grand house falling apart as it's inhabitants do. It's a ghost story.
But it's so much more than that.
It is a love letter to books, in particular, the gothic stories that have hidden mysteries you need to uncover such as Jane Eyre or Rebecca. It is for the readers who love them and indeed, you will want to add Angelfield to the list with the likes of Manderley and Thornfield Hall.
The Angelfield family has many secrets to be uncovered and as a reader, you, along with the main character, Margaret, are swept along for the ride. You will be eager to put together the clues. But a word of warning, Miss Winter does prefer a good story to the truth.
While the book definitely lends itself to the dark side when going back into the past, there are some lighter scenes, my favourite is when the doctor is diagnosing Margaret based on her literary taste and he prescribes stories of Sherlock Holmes which made me so happy.
If you are a fan of family sagas, rambling estates and love a good sibling story, you will be hooked. If you are a book lover, and you happen to have enjoyed Jane Eyre, this book will have something a little bit extra for you as well.
A big thank you to my international travelling book group, as the book was one of the member's picks. I would not have bumped this book up my TBR as high as I did otherwise. I only read Jane Eyre for the first time last year and Rebecca the year before that, and I can firmly say that these atmospheric, suspenseful, gothic novels are one of my favourite types of books to read.
Have you read The Thirteenth Tale? How does it compare with the gothic novels you have read such as Jane Eyre and Rebecca? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.