Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield~★★★★★

Author: Diane Setterfield
Title: The Thirteenth Tale
Release Date: September 12th, 2006
Publisher: Atria
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "'All children mythologize their birth'...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.
The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself---all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.
As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.
Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspiciousof the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.
The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life."

Taryn's Review: This book is truly one for the book lover. Diane Setterfield has elegantly put into words the eloquence of Margaret Lea in the precise way that book lover's feel about books. I was in complete awe of the beauty and grace the writing emitted in the words Setterfield chose. She has a true gift for writing books.

The story of the book is not normally one that I would pick to read, but surprisingly, I found myself drawn into the book quickly and had a hunger to know what would happen with every page turned. I even wanted to skip ahead at moments because I was so eager to find out what was happening! It is certainly true that Vida Winter's life story is truly one with twists and turns that kept the reader on the edge of his or her seat.

I have to say that something I appreciated was Setterfield's diverse vocabulary. She always seemed to select the perfect word to describe whatever it is that she is writing about. Sometimes you can catch an author's preoccupation with certain words or phrases in the books he or she writes, but Setterfield leaves no trace of favorite words; she treats them all equally. I would highly recommend this book solely for the radiant writing skills of Setterfield, but luckily, the story she told was quite wonderful as well!

1 comment:

  1. Taryn, I loved The Thirteenth Tale. Since you liked TTT, you might like The House at Riverton by Kate Morton too.