The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In brief, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
This was the first book that grabbed my attention hard enough for me to finish it with a grabby and demanding baby.
A modern Gothic novel that reminiscent of Jane Eyre with delicious family secrets taken to the grave, and mysteries burning to be uncovered, The Thirteenth Tale was written with entrancing prose. I particularly enjoyed the unusual word choices which made me feel as though Setterfield spent many hours poring over her work until every single word in The Thirteenth Tale was chosen for both beauty and precise meaning.
Though the tale ranges from the scandalous to bizarre, and mysteries are layered upon mysteries ever edging along the paranormal, they never fully step outside the realm of the believable. Though the scandals are salacious, they are never described in the sort of sordid detail I've come to cringe through in many a similar tale. I greatly appreciated that Setterfield respected the story enough to tell the tale without gratuitous scenes of any sort. If it is in the book, it is a deeply intrinsic piece of the tale. I admire the restraint apparent in the construction of The Thirteenth Tale.
It's a book I would recommend to nearly anyone over the age of 15 looking for an enigmatic tale, and it is one which I plan to read again.
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