Just before the school holidays, I visited the local community library and grabbed some books to keep me going until after the holidays.  Diane Setterfields The Thirteenth Tale was one of the books, and I was surprised by this book.

On the back, it is described as a gothic tale, set against a backdrop of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, so I knew it would have to be classical in style, and I wasn’t wrong.  Even though it is a modern tale, it had that classical feel to it, and it actually added to the story.

What initially surprised me about this story, was that I was enjoying it, even though the start of the story was slow.  I admit I was reading two books at the same time, just so that I could get through my other library books as well, but as I kept reading The Thirteenth Tale, I found that I was only reading this one, untl in one marathon effort, I completed it.

It tells the tale of Margaret Lea, a person of little significance, who was a twin, her sister died not long after birth, but Margaret struggles to accept that she does not have her sister with her to share her experiences.  Margaret, a consumate essay writer, is engaged by the enigmatic author Vida Winter to write her biography.  Margaret it surprised by the request, but upon further investigation, learns that Ms Winter has a way with words, and ingenius ways of stretching the truth.  So what is the truth of Ms Winters past.  It must be told the cantankerous old lady’s way, or she will not tell it.  As her health deteriorates, and the truth flows more freely, Margaret finds herself wrapped up in a story about twins that has her travelling to see the infamous Angelfield Hall to see where the story all began.

The story might seem slow to start with, but the story within a story concept suckered me in as much as it drew Margaret in.  It caused her to look at herself more deeply and to open up more about herself, to stop being so secretive.

This is a story that I thoroughly recommend as a good read.

Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale
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