Monday, March 14, 2011

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
by Diane Setterfield, narrated by Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner, Audible Audio Edition, 15 hours and 40 minutes.  Published 2006

...if you would like to lose yourself in a true Gothic mystery The Thirteenth Tale is for you. I was sorry to see it end.

This is a genuine Gothic tale. Margaret Lea, daughter of a London bookseller, comes to Yorkshire to write the biography of a dying Vida Winter. Winter is a world famous author beloved for her many books but mysterious about one story that has not yet been published – the thirteenth tale. She has notoriously never been truthful about her personal life. Lea listens as Winter relates her life story. The story is of the Angelfield family, a mostly dysfunctional group of people; twin girls of the family, a governess, a housekeeper, gardener and at least one ghost all living in a Brontë type mansion in Yorkshire! Winter relates the strange tale, full of mistaken identities, madness, secrets, and sexual obsessions. Margaret travels to the abandoned Angelfield estate to try and confirm the truthfulness of the story.

I really don’t want to give details of the plot as the mystery is central to enjoying this book, but let me make a few comments about the novel. The writing is richly descriptive. The two main characters Miss Winter and Margaret Lea are very well developed and very believable within this book. Margaret is a throwback Jane Eyre type character. She is an intellectual, very well read and with a world of repressed feelings but a true romantic at heart. The pacing of the story is also first rate, just enough information is revealed to keep the reader engaged and off balance in trying to discern the mystery. Lastly the plot itself is excellent. The story just flowed, plot twists were believable, characters remained in character and the conclusion was very satisfying including the wrap up detail given to even the minor characters in the story. I realize this is not a very extensive review but if you would like to lose yourself in a true Gothic mystery The Thirteenth Tale is for you. I was sorry to see it end.

I listened to audio CDs borrowed from The Free Library of Philadelphia


Danielle Zappavigna said...

I loved this book too. I loved the stories within stories and found the ending to be very moving. I wish DS had more books!

Zibilee said...

We read this book for book club two years ago, and everyone was just floored by it. I really loved it and thought it was a great story that I would love to read again. Glad to hear that you loved it too!

Kathy said...

@mumma - no word on a second book, keep hoping

@zibilee - I don't know how I missed this book when it was first published but glad I finally caught on to it thanks to some fellow bloggers.

NancyO said...

I really liked this one as well. I think its Gothic qualities appealed to me -- I'm such a sucker for that genre!

Thanks for posting your review!

Elizabeth said...

I absolutely loved this is one of my all-time favorites.

Stopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Review Party.

Stop by my blog for a giveaway of LINEN QUEEN courtesy of Sarah from Hachette Books.

Sayeth said...

Thanks for visiting at Free Listens. I agree that The 13th Tale is an excellent book. It's good to listen to the audiobook of Jane Eyre too to get the whole impact of the story, since Jane Eyre is so tied in as a theme throughout the 13th Tale.