I know we’ve done a lot of talking here at 5 Minutes for Books about stretching your reading habits. Hopefully we’ve encouraged you to try new authors and genres, and go outside of your usual reading boundaries. One of the great things about being a part of this team is that my teammates do that for me. Such was the case when Jennifer suggested that I read The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
Gothic novels have never intrigued me. Still, I trusted Jennifer’s judgment and took the bait. I was hooked a couple of pages later with what I think is one of the greatest lines ever, Reading can be dangerous. (Sounds like a great title for a novel, doesn’t it?)
When Margaret Lea, a bookish sort of gal, is summoned by Vida Winter, her curiosity about the mysterious author gets the best of her. Margaret travels to Ms. Winter’s secluded home in search of the missing thirteenth tale from a book of short stories. She finds a dying woman who is determined to finally share her own life story…or is it just another of Ms. Winter’s concoctions?
Setterfield has expertly crafted a tale of obsession, secrets, and ghosts. I must confess, about halfway through I was a little weary from it all. Still, the revelation of the truth made me gasp out loud and glad I stuck with it.
The Thirteenth Tale was my first foray into gothic fiction, but I’m looking forward to returning to it when the Classics Bookclub discusses Rebecca. We’ve switched to an every-other-month format so that more people have time to finish the selections, so get your copy now so you’ll be ready to join us on August 4.
The edition that Jennifer read of this novel even had a list of suggested titles to explore if you enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale, and Rebecca was one of them.
Melissa has been captivated by books for as long as she can remember. She resides in Virginia and blogs at Breath of Life.
Ms Ulat Buku says
I’ve been wondering about this book since i saw it at my local bookstore. Thanks for the review. Will get myself a copy. 😛
Heather J. says
Cool! You picked a book I’ve already read and enjoyed! This will be a great one for discussion. Oh, and the audio version is very well done (in case anyone wants to know).
This was one of my favorite reads from last summer. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed it too.
This sounds like a great book… I had heard of it but haven’t read it yet. I do love Gothic tales, though! I’ve read Rebecca before (and I’ve seen the classic movie) and LOVED it! I’m sure you’ll love it, too. 🙂
I loved this book and started reading Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White after seeing it mentioned in the story. I loved that one too and am now a big Collins fan!
Carrie, Reading to Know says
Oh this book was AWESOME! It’s creepy and yes, I can identify with your questioning it about half way through. Some of it’s just ugly. However, it sticks with you in this strange way and I kept the book for future re-reads. I liked it that much. Hauntingly beautiful. Typically not my style but this is a book I really LOVED!
I read this last year (and agree that the audio version is fantastic) and then my book club chose it as a selection. We had a great discussion on the book, though spent a good portion of that discussion trying to figure out exactly what happened at key points in the story. Glad you enjoyed it!
Jennifer, Snapshot says
I’m glad you liked it. It’s been over a year since I read it, but I’m looking forward to seeing how Rebecca compares in feel.
I just finished reading that too! It was amazing!!
I loved this book and I had our book club at the library read it. We also read Rebecca before we read The Thirteenth Tale.
Your comment: “I must confess, about halfway through I was a little weary from it all. Still, the revelation of the truth made me gasp out loud and glad I stuck with it,” reminds me another book I read. It was boring me yet keeping my attention. But the truth at the end made it ALL worth reading. Need to read it again.
I read this book when it first came out a few years back. It is quite memorable and an excellent read.
I wasn’t sure I would like this book either. But our book club read it last year and I loved it and we had an excellent discussion over it. There were several unexpected twists and keep us all intrigued until the end! Glad you liked it!
I loved this book! And the plot twist was worth the wait. I hope Rebecca compares.
I read this book last summer but missed your review of it at the time. I got a bit tired of the incestous sibs and feral twins, mostly cuz it reminded me too much of a couple of other books (Angels and Insects, etc). But overall, I still really liked this book! It’s one I’ll remember from 2009.