Kudos Claudia on an excellent recommendation. Her intriguing review of The Thirteenth Tale got me to pick up the book and then I couldn’t put it down. The Thirteenth Tale defies categorization. It is suspense and mystery with a splash of paranormal with a healthy dose of Gothic ghost story. Setterfield is a master of the chimera of words, her text shades from beautiful to sad to horrifying within a sentence. The plot, ah the twisting and turning plot; madness, governesses, reclusive authors, feral children, murder, love, heartbreak, incest, and bibliophilism. And the ending, ah the ending, you never see it coming and then realize it couldn’t have been any other way. Perhaps a perfect book if there ever is such a thing.
The Child’s Child is written by acclaimed British author Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine. It is a novel-within-a novel about society taboos and how very little that they change over time. The framing story is about a modern brother-sister pair who co-habitat a house left to them. The brother brings in his male lover who upsets their life together. The interior novel is a book that is being edited by the sister about another brother-sister pair in the early 20th century who, after the girl finds herself pregnant out of wedlock, moves in with her homosexual brother and acts as his wife to allay society censure. While the book itself is well written, I find the characters in The Child’s Child to be tragic yet somehow unlikable. Blatant bigotry and violence mirrors the stories of both pairs of siblings throughout the book. I was left unsure after finishing the book. To be frank, I did not like it and yet it has very important things to say about society and it’s treatment of what it deems “undesirable”.
On May 11, 1812, Spencer Perceval, the prime minister of Great Britain, was fatally shot in the lobby of Parliament by John Bellingham, a Liverpool businessman. Spencer Perceval is the only British prime minister to be assassinated. Perceval had deeply divided the British public. Some loved him others hated him for his fight against the lucrative slave trade and driving Britain into a war with the United States despite the economic consequences to both countries. Bellingham was not alone in blaming Perceval for economic ruin and he claimed to have killed Perceval “as a matter of justice,” and believed he would not only be exonerated, but also applauded for his action. But Bellingham was granted the briefest of trials that trampled his right to due process, he was hanged.
Author Andro Linklater examines the records including recently discovered correspondence and personal records to convincing show there was a conspiracy. Linklater shows the prime ministers personal and public life and discusses the economic and political climate of the time. He believes while Bellingham clearly fired they shot, he did not act alone.