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Stories within stories within stories!

  • Apr 28, 2010
Dickensian in depth, scope and grandeur with the feminine overtones of Bronte's JANE EYRE, staunchly upper crust British in its attitudes and values, Victorian in flavour and yet deliciously undated and entirely timeless, Diane Setterfield's THE THIRTEENTH TALE is a spectacularly modern gothic murder mystery that will thrill its readers from first page to last. Truly enjoyable literary fiction without the stuffiness or pretentiousness so typical of this genre!

Vida Winters is a reclusive best selling novelist whose personal history has never been told. Actually, that's not quite right ... it has been told on numerous occasions! But it's never been the same story - nineteen journalists have had their chains yanked with nineteen thoroughly different stories, each of which was wilder and more patently false than the other eighteen! So when Margaret Lea, a little known biographer and the daughter of a quietly successful antiquarian book-seller received a letter from Ms Winters asking her to attend at her country estate to prepare her life story, Ms Lea had scant reason to believe that the famous author was actually prepared to tell her the truth!

But the story was told and what a story it was - an astonishing mysterious tale of a dysfunctional wealthy family, twins, insanity, murder, ghosts, abandoned infants, incestuous love, arson and more. And conveyed by an author whose command of her craft is all the more surprising and compelling for its being a debut novel! Setterfield's masterful prose, to steal one of her own phrases, will wash over its readers in an explosion of "vertiginous, kaleidoscopic brilliance".

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

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More The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel reviews
review by . July 03, 2010
The emotions you have while in this book runs from excitement to disgust.  You want Margaret to find out but when she does it is quite a secret.  If you are not offended by the nature of this book I would recommend it to anyone.  Has incest and abuse that some people might find offensive.  But it is very hard to put it down.  The setting of the story is almost romantic for where the story leads.  The writer leads you down a very interesting …
review by . July 03, 2010
I wasn't sure about this book when I first picked it up.  I had no idea what this book was about but I was taken in by the book immediately.  You have to wonder where Diane got the story line for this book.  She brought you in little by little, as if you were there with Margaret.  She left you wondering just like Margaret did, making some assumptions wondering if you were right.  Although Diane got a little twisted I don't think that it would have made the thirteenth …
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Paul Weiss ()
Ranked #15
   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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