sharrona, November 26, 2012 (view all comments by sharrona)
Haven't listened to a book quite this bad for many years. Had I not been a "captive audience" on a long car trip, I would've quit. But the drive let me give the book every opportunity to improve. It didn't.
nrlymrtl, November 7, 2012 (view all comments by nrlymrtl)
I loved this story. It was so rich in building the suspense a piece at a time. Towards the end, I had a few moments where I had guessed what was about to be revealed and I found myself holding my breath, waiting to hear if I had it right. Truly, Diane Setterfield laid the grounds for the mystery of Winter’s life, but then coupling it with Margaret’s own tragic beginning made for excellent reading.
While many of the characters in this story are long dead, as they are part of Winter’s past, the author wrote them so believably real and their existence is still reflected in how they shaped and molded Ms. Winter as a young lady. From her own emotionally absent parents to the gardener and the house mistress, and even a short-term governess. All these people had a piece in the tragedy of Winter’s life, some good and some bad and some a mix. I appreciated that in the end, Winter wasn’t free of her burden of guilt and bad choices past.
Deb Duffy, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by Deb Duffy)
This book was a perfect blend of suspense and mystery. Following the parallel stories of two women, Setterfield examines the psychological connection between twins, whether they are alive or dead. There were enough turns and twists in this tale that kept me guessing until the end.
julieannpdx, July 21, 2011 (view all comments by julieannpdx)
I enjoyed this book. I could relate to the main character's love of books and words, and her life seemed easy to relate to.
The story of the woman she interviews, though, reminds me of V.C. Andrews' early novels. I had a difficult time putting the book down! I wanted to know what the next page had in store. There are a few mysteries involved in the story line, and I was able to guess one but not the other. Lots of shocks! I've recommended it to two other people and both loved it.
writer_rider, January 26, 2011 (view all comments by writer_rider)
This is a reader's book - a book lover's book - a mystery lover's book. It centers on writers and books and Jane Eyre (the book) is one of the main characters. It's book about getting lost in books that you can really get lost in. I read it in almost one sitting. Enough of that. The writing is good and the tale is skillfully woven. I thought I had guessed the end, but unlike any other time in my reading life, I was wrong! Wait for a wintery, rainy night, light the fire, brew up a pot of tea, and settle down with your cat in your lap (yes, there's a cat in this book!)for a long night of reading. MMMmmmmm.
Washington Square Press -
"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.)
"A wholly original work told in the vein of all the best gothic classics. Lovers of books about book lovers will be enthralled."
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."
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 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 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."
"[A] gripping and spellbinding novel with a haunting quality....Read this book for its dazzling turn of a phrase, its wonderful twist on the classic ghost story and the author's stunning ability to move her audience."
Tell me the truth. It was a simple request, but one that shook the reclusive author, Vida Winter, to her core. She had spent the last six decades creating alternate lives that brought her fame and fortune, and kept her tragic past a secret.
Tell me the truth. These words echoed in the heart of biographer Margaret Lea, for whom the secret of her own birth remained an ever-present source of pain.
Tell me the truth. Vida promises Margaret that she would finally reveal the long-held secrets of her extraordinary life. Together, this unlikely pair will confront the ghosts that have haunted their lives for decades.
In this rousingly good ghost story, Setterfield's debut novel rejuvenates the genre with a closely plotted, clever foray into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths.
Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny.
Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author's tale of gothic strangeness — featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess,a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.
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