The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Opening Sentence:It was November.
Synopsis:I opened the door and was about to step into the emptiness when, in a voice hoarse with something like fear, she launched the words that stopped me in my tracks. ‘Once upon a time there were twins…’

Reclusive author Vida Winter has created several ‘biographies’ for herself, each one different, but now she wants to tell the truth. When she asks Margaret Lea to write her biography Margaret is reluctant – not least because of the family secrets she herself is guarding so painfully.

Margaret’s research takes her to Angelfield House and into Vida’s enigmatic past – and what she uncovers sheds a troubling light on her own life.
Comments:The Thirteenth Tale is an amazing journey into one woman’s hidden past. Filled with beautiful language and wonderfully descriptive passages, this is an extraordinary first work by an incredibly gifted author.

Book lovers will relate well to the narrator Margaret Lea, and will enjoy the timeless gothic atmosphere and the enchanting prose as Vida’s life slowly unfolds. The Thirteenth Tale is a remarkable story that will be enjoyed by all.

I loved the language in this novel so much, I am including two of my favourite quotes:

“What succour, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story? What good is truth, at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney? When lightning strikes shadows on the bedroom wall and the rain taps at the window with it’s long fingernails? No. When fear and cold make a statue of you in your bed, don’t expect hard-boned and fleshless truth to come running to your aid. What you need are the plump comforts of a story. The soothing, rocking safety of a lie.” Vida Winter in The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.” The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Categories: Impressions

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

1 reply


  1. Books I Read In September 2008 « Rafferty's Rules

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: