The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (final thoughts)
Mysterious best-selling author Vida Winter has never been upfront about her past. Instead she approaches each meeting with a reporter as an opportunity to use up scraps of stories that never quite fit into her novels. Now that her life is drawing to a close, she feels compelled to tell the truth and has chosen unassuming, unknown novice biographer Margaret Lea to tell her story to.
The book is narrated by Margaret and it starts off with her story. I was a bit worried at the beginning of the book, because for the first 50 or so pages I just couldn’t get into the story. It felt like Margaret was trying too hard to be mysterious and haunting. However, when Vida Winter began her story I was sucked right in. Her story really is mysterious and haunting. The atmosphere Setterfield created in the telling of Miss Winter’s story was fantastic. And, during the entire book I couldn’t help but wonder if Winter really was telling the truth this time.
The only parts of the book where Setterfield’s hold on me wavered were when Margaret lost focus of Vida Winter’s story and dwelt on her own. Fortunately, since Miss Winter’s story takes over Margaret’s life, those instances were few and far between. I finished the book late one night, and for the rest of the night and the next day I was turning over facts and twists and turns in my mind, just trying to make sense of it all. A book that keeps you thinking about it for a while after you’ve turned the last page is definitely a keeper. I may have to buy my own copy so I can reread it and try to pick up on the hints that Setterfield dropped throughout the story.
My rating: 8.5/10