Book Review : The Thirteenth Tale By Diane Setterfield

ImageIt’s a story about sisters. A dark tale about family secrets and loss. About a big estate in ruins, a weird and creepy family causing their own destruction.

A famous author, Ms. Vida Winter calls for an amateur biographer, Margaret Lea to write her biography. Until then the author’s life is a mystery. she makes up stories about her life when journalists interview her every year, each story a different one. Now she is dying and wants to tell her life story. During the story telling, Margaret and Vida Winter feel
connected through a common loss.

Margaret character is not very strong, I did not feel connected to her at all. She is constantly mourning about something which she could get over with. She is a loner, prefers books to people, nothing wrong with that. She just seems too sad for no good reason.

I liked the twist towards the end of the book, the most. It wasn’t something I expected.

There are some very good quotes in the book. For example:

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”

“All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes — characters even — caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are  still with you.”

The attempt to make  the story seem paranormal  annoyed me simply because most situations were not eerie enough, they were in fact stupid. Several times, Margaret sees her reflection in the mirror or a window glass and feels its her dead sister from the other world. Once is okay, not ten times.

The book goes on after the story is finished, it tells about what happens to the characters in the book. I didn’t quite like it. Yes, most authors won’t do that and you wouldn’t know what happens to a chararcterafter its role is played in the
story. Somehow I like it that way, it keeps the mystery. I was disinterested in all these details added after the actual story. This might be a good thing for other readers but for me, it did not work.

Overall the book was interesting, Vida Winter’s past – the crazy family , the sisters behaviour, the governess and the twist.

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