Review: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Famous author Vida Winter invites biographer, Margaret Lea, to document the life story she has never told anyone else before. The story unfurls sentence by sentence and word by word to reveal the dark secrets of a very bizarre family. Through the narration of this incredible story we also get a glimpse into Margaret's own life story.

Beautiful, that's what this story is. I admit to not reading much mainstream fiction, but this one is beautifully crafted, the pacing is pitch perfect, and the characters are each distinct, interesting, and believable.

Vida is delightfully eccentric despite her crotchetiness. Margaret starts out as this very organized classical fiction reader, who develops impulses throughout this book, and following her journey as she takes down the biography of Vida was engaging.

There are a few points in the book where I got a little lost as to what was happening. But for the most part, the story swept me along, and I didn't resist. Even though this isn't a fantasy novel - it is at its core, a mystery, not a thriller mind you, but there was a certain mystical quality to it that I believe will make this appeal to fantasy readers.

Star Rating: 4.0/5.0

For an explanation of the Star Rating go here.

This is one of the books I've read and reviewed for the fantasy mini-challenge. Progress 10/13 books.

Check out prices for The Thirteenth Tale at Amazon

14 comments: Jump to Comment Form

This is one of my all time fav books!


I've had this sitting on my shelf for such a long time..I need to read it :)
Kristy @ Dreaming By Day


I read this book a while ago, but I remember that I loved it. I love how you said that it is a mystery but has a mystical quality. I agree with that and I also agree that fans of fantasy would probably enjoy this book. Great review!


This book looks really great! I think my students would really love it! Great review!


@Miss Remmers oooh I hope they do!


Great review. I have put a hold on this book for so long. It's about time I should read it =)


I think this is one of the first books I put on my list to read when I became more interested in reading, and it was on my list to buy (from some book club I'm in) but I never did. it stills sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review.


I loved this book, I loved the gothic mystery element to it, I have such a soft spot for that type of thing!


Ah I'm so happy you enjoyed this one. I love this book! I do agree with you about fantasy readers enjoying this one.


I read this book in 2010 and rated it 4/5 as well! I agree that this could appeal to fantasy fans in search of something a little different. Personally, I loved the Gothic feel to it. Great review!


Thanks for the review. This book looks like a great read I'll have to check it out.


This is one book I've always wanted to pick up.


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