The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Published: 2006

Summary (taken from blurb):
Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once the imposing home of the March family – fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, Charlie, her brutal and dangerous brother, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmaline and Adeline. But Angelfield House conceals a chilling secret whose impact still resonates…

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past – and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has the house been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic author Vida Winter? And what is it in Margaret’s own troubled past that causes her to fall so powerfully under Angelfield’s spell?

The Thirteenth Tale is an engaging and atmospheric gothic novel, and Setterfield reveals herself as an excellent story-teller. Having a booklover narrate the story helped me to identify with Margaret, the main character, and there are some lovely insights on reading.

The story is very well developed and the mystery is built up nicely. I wouldn’t say it was suspenseful, but I was kept very interested in learning the outcome, which I didn’t guess beforehand. I like that not everything was resolved, and also that the story had no definite time setting; it helped add to the mystery.

The main problems I had with the book were Margaret’s obsession with her twin, which came on a little strongly, and I also felt that the Angelfield family were a little too unbelievable as characters. They were all so remote as to not even seem human most of the time, and in the time setting that I had concocted in my mind, they seemed very out of place (actually, when I tried to place them at different points in time, they didn’t seem to fit anywhere).

Overall, a very enjoyable book; different and full of intrigue. Highly recommended.

Rating: 8/10

Review by Kylie

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

  1. ruth72

    I really enjoyed this book as well, and remember trying to work out what time frame it was set in! Thanks for the review.

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