I have never read a book that I have never wanted to put down. There have been books I wanted to finish but The Thirteenth Tale I just could not put down, I was reading it all the time, at work, on the beach, in the tub, before bed. It was hard not to want to see what was going to happen in the story and where Diane Setterfield would take her characters and story.
Margaret Lea is a girl on the outside. Biographer by trade she is haunted by her past, the lose of a twin sister. She is content writing biographies of people already past. So it's no wonder when she receives a letter from Vida Winter, a prestegious author famous for her twelve thrilling stories. Everything Vida has told has been a story, always different always elusive. Now as she nears the end of her life she is ready to tell the truth, the thirtheenth tale. And she wants Margaret to write it. Vida weaves a tale featuing a beautiful Isabelle, feral twins, a governess, a beautiful garden, a ghost and a fire that changes everything.
From the very beginning Diane setterfield draws readers in and enthralls them with the letter from Vida. Her words draw in you in as original. She creates a story line unlike any I have read before. This novel could and should be made into a movie,and Hollywood still wouldn't be able to mess the story up. The story is both eerie and fascinating as you read farther and learn more of the twins Adeline and Emmeline. You try to figure the story out and figure what is going on and where it is going. But when you find out the truth you are blown away,and ending you never expect.
Setterfield creates remarkable characters in Margaret Lea, the young woman who feels the constant presence of her twin sister who died at birth. Vida Winter, a mysterious author who is relucant to tell her story, but at the same time wants the truth to be told. John the Dig, the loveable gardener who appears as a father figure. The mysterious ghost singing in the garden or causing havoc on the household. As well as the mysterious Aurelius who holds mystery in and of himself. Her story is complete with minor characters who hold power within the story such as Tom and Emma, two young children Margaret meets while on a walk.
Setterfield does an amazing job of blending the stories together. While she tells one story of Margaret listening to the story and learning to accept the truth of not only Vida's past but her own; she includes the mysterious thirteenth tale of Vida's past and the truth to who the woman really is and where her stories originate. The way she describes the scenery and people makes you feel as if you are there while everything is happening. The story doesn't get bog down by these details, but is only enhanced by them.
Setterfield creates a story that lasts with readers long after they have finsihed the book. I think I might have to reread the novel again after writing this up. I thouroughly enjoyed reading this novel and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery and is willing to wait to find out the truth. Every word could hold the key and clues to learning the true mystery that lies in Angelfield.
Pros: Plot twists you never see coming, intriguing characters
Cons: Some aspects might be difficult to read about
Bottom Line: Not your typical mystery novel. It goes farther and deeper than you would ever expect.
Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars.