The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Fiction, Modern Gothic
Margaret Lea is a biographer who does her work from above her father’s bookshop. She writes about people who are long dead, and is therefore surprised when she receives a letter from the very famous, and very alive, author Vida Winter. Ms. Winter is ill and wants to make sure her life story is told in full.
Ultimately Margaret agrees to take on the project, and makes her way to the home of Ms. Winter in Yorkshire. Ms. Winters is an elderly, eccentric, and witty woman that surprises Margaret at every turn. As Ms. Winters reveals the strange and dark story of her life, she and Margaret must both confront their past and the family secrets that have shaped their lives.
I’ve got to say, when I read the synopsis for this book, I wasn’t really interested; it didn’t appeal to me. However, after multiple recommendations, I thought, what the heck. After I began reading, I could almost immediately see why the book came so highly recommended.
This book is amazing. Utterly amazing. It is definitely the best book I have read in a while, and that is saying something because I’ve read a lot of books recently, including The Help and The Secret Life of Bees.
This gothic tale is incredibly captivating. I barely left my hands until I was finished, and when it did, the story was all I could think about. Marvellous storytelling, powerful characters, and original and compelling plot.
I HIGHLY recommend this book to all fiction lovers!
Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.