Friday, 5 June 2015

The Thirteenth Tale - Book Review

"Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once the imposing home of the March family - fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, Charlie, her brutal and dangerous brother, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House conceals a chilling secret whose impact still resonates...
Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield'd past - and the mystery of the March Family starts to unravel. What has the house been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic author Vida Winter? And, what is it in Margaret's own troubled past that causes her to fall so powerfully under Angelfield's spell?"

I don't often find it difficult to get into a book. From the age of three when I learned to read, if you listen to my parents, I've always had a book in my hand. Yet, I struggled with this at first. The writing of Diane Setterfield in The Thirteenth Tale reads like a classic, yet is set in a contemporary setting - this, alongside the eloquent, descriptive narrative put me off at first, but as I fell deeper and deeper into the book, it grew on me, creating a story that wouldn't feel out of place in amongst traditional classics.

The Thirteenth Tale Book Cover

The story tells of Margaret Lea, a woman plagued by the loss of a twin whom she never knew, who set out to interview the reclusive Vida Winter, a famous writer whom has never truthfully disclosed her past to any reporter. Hung up on the idea that Vida's past might disclose information about the illusive missing tale in a book that describes thirteen, but offers only twelve, Margaret transcribes the story from the word of Vida. As Vida tells her story, we learn alongside Margaret - through the events happening in the present life, and the complicated stories told by Miss Winter herself.

The book is a maze of stories within other stories - dark corners and eerie findings, with thin lines between metaphor and true life. It would stand up next to Wuthering Heights, with it's eerie sense of something supernatural, something constantly hidden in the corner. An enigma of a story, so beautifully written that it's captivating. The book explores not only the complicated lives of those who resided within Angelfield, but also touches on the issues of loss, both metaphorical and more literal - all the while immersing you in a world that is so intriguing that it's easy to forget your surroundings (seriously, the book had me on dreary moors, all the while my physical self was in the sunny Spanish hills.)

The Thirteenth Tale Quote

There are not many books that make me want to tattoo the words on my skin, there are not many books that I finish and am torn between wanting to share it with everybody, and wanting to keep it a secret all for myself - but this is definitely one of them. The book, I am told by the cover, actually has a BBC adaptation, so I'll definitely be getting on that as soon as I'm home!

Have you read or watching The Thirteenth Tale?

Sammy xo.

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