04. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Fiction

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, 416 pages, read by Claudia, on 01/23/2013

The Thirteenth Tale is a true literary masterpiece in the Gothic novel tradition.  It is charming, yet equally mysterious and sinister.  Gothic fiction is a genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance.  It originated in England in the second half of the 18th century and had much success during the English romantic period with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and later Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  

The books begins as a reclusive young English woman, who spends her days working at her father’s antiquarian bookshop (and is a part-time biography writer), receives a peculiar letter from the most famous author of the day. Vida Winter (as she is known) has requested Miss Margaret Lea to pen the truth story of her life…her thirteenth tale!  And so our story begins.  This strange tale is complete with an eccentric family, love, hate, incest, twins, and of course… murder!  The reader fluctuates between repulsion and utter fascination. What is real?  What is imaginary? The reader won’t completely know until the very end.  The Thirteenth Tale is beautifully and cleverly written tale with an ending no one could ever imagine.

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