Ambrosia4All, March 11, 2010 (view all comments by Ambrosia4All)
While reading "The Thirteenth Tale" I couldn't wait to turn the page and find out what happened next. This tale of twins, a ghost, a rundown estate, a garden, and a mysterious writer was exactly what I was looking for. The tale centers on Margaret, a young bookshop clerk and amateur biographer, and Vida Winter, a prolific and popular, yet reclusive writer. Ms. Winter invites Margaret to hear her life story so that it will live on.
The fascinating life story holds all the clues that are essential to figuring out the mystery, but it still surprised me in the end. I was so immersed in the story, that I hardly cared, I just wanted it to keep going. Highly recommended!
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Cheryl Trine, January 4, 2010 (view all comments by Cheryl Trine)
I love old books, complex stories filled with odd characters, mysteries I can't figure out until the last page, and strong women making meaningful personal journeys. I also like an author who knows how to turn concise words into beautiful images for my heart and mind to savor. Wonderfully, The Thirteenth Tale does not disappoint, capturing me from first to last as I devoured each remarkable page, each enticing plot turn, each narrowing of the path. Vivid but never redundant, The Thirteenth Tale weaves a great story. Perfect for a good snuggle in bed on a lazy Saturday morning.
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muwhobbit, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by muwhobbit)
I picked up this book in an airport to read on a transatlantic flight, and I couldn't put it down! I gave up on any hope of taking a nap and just read it straight through. Setterfield has a beautiful knack for the gothic, and the book is intricately plotted and wonderfully written. I highly recommend it!
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Amanda Schaefer, October 13, 2009 (view all comments by Amanda Schaefer)
The perfect mystery for the book lover. Creepy, with great twists and turns, and a main character that any book nerd will love. Especially great for lovers of classic British fictiona ala the Bronte sisters. Highly recommended.
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Hallesmommy123, September 5, 2009 (view all comments by Hallesmommy123)
Setterfield's novel gains momentum as the story continues. The best moments of the book? When the infamous Vida Winters is retelling the tale of her youth. Give you the creeps and keep you wanting to read more.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Former academic Setterfield pays tribute in her debut to Brontë and du Maurier heroines: a plain girl gets wrapped up in a dark, haunted ruin of a house, which guards family secrets that are not hers and that she must discover at her peril. Margaret Lea, a London bookseller's daughter, has written an obscure biography that suggests deep understanding of siblings. She is contacted by renowned aging author Vida Winter, who finally wishes to tell her own, long-hidden, life story. Margaret travels to Yorkshire, where she interviews the dying writer, walks the remains of her estate at Angelfield and tries to verify the old woman's tale of a governess, a ghost and more than one abandoned baby. With the aid of colorful Aurelius Love, Margaret puzzles out generations of Angelfield: destructive Uncle Charlie; his elusive sister, Isabelle; their unhappy parents; Isabelle's twin daughters, Adeline and Emmeline; and the children's caretakers. Contending with ghosts and with a (mostly) scary bunch of living people, Setterfield's sensible heroine is, like Jane Eyre, full of repressed feeling — and is unprepared for both heartache and romance. And like Jane, she's a real reader and makes a terrific narrator. That's where the comparisons end, but Setterfield, who lives in Yorkshire, offers graceful storytelling that has its own pleasures. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Library Journal,
"Setterfield's first novel is equally suited to a rainy afternoon on the couch or a summer day on the beach."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"[A] contemporary gothic tale whose excesses and occasional implausibility...can be forgiven for the thrill of the storytelling."
by San Diego Union-Tribune,
"The Thirteenth Tale is a book that you wake in the middle of the night craving to get back to....Like a childhood favorite, it is timeless, charming, pure pleasure to read."
by Boston Globe,
"Setterfield is neither a Bronte nor a DuMaurier, and her adventure creaks at times....But this debut novel gets a lot of that rich bookishness right, heavy on the gothic detail and romantic suspense."
by Philadelphia Inquirer,
"Those who buy and read this complex, compelling and, in the end, deeply moving novel are unlikely to feel they've been shortchanged."
by Los Angeles Times,
"The Thirteenth Tale explicitly sets out to capitalize on our longing for a good old-fashioned read but fails to deliver on precisely that."
by Rocky Mountain News,
"This is a book-lover's novel, with rich characters, fascinating plot twists and plenty of secluded moments infused with the soothing smell of cracking leather and old paper....[A] smart, thoughtful look at truth and deception."
"A wholly original work told in the vein of all the best gothic classics. Lovers of books about book lovers will be enthralled."
Amateur biographer Margaret Lea receives a letter from reclusive author Vida Winter, summoning her to write Vida's life story. As Margaret pieces together Vida's story on her own, what she discovers is a chilling and transforming experience.
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