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Topic: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (possible spoiler alert)

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Kat (polbio) -
Subject: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (possible spoiler alert)
Date Posted: 1/7/2009 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Not sure if this book has been of topic before, but I couldnt put it down. It has been sitting on my TBR shelf for almost a year. We moved last month and I was unpacking books yesterday when I found it again. I started reading and was enthralled. The author is a lover of the Bronte sisters (not my favorites by far) and had multiple references to Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. However, her style  brought out the things I loved about the Bronte's writing. The words like poetry, slip by and engross you. THe details of the surroundings not dull but engrossing.

The story is about an author who appeared out of no where sixty years ago and becomes one of the best selling authors of all time. Multiple people ask for her true biography and she creates a new  false one for each reporter. One day a novice biographer receives a letter inviting her to come and hear the REAL story. What she hears keeps you guessing throughout the whole book. I got turned off a short ways into the book, because it was so much a recreation of wuthering heights that I expected Heathcliff and Catherine to come down the steps at any minute. Instead their names were Charlie and Isabelle. I didnt like Wuthering Heights. Not because it wasnt an enthrauling book, it was, but because it haunted me for a VERY long time after reading. It was very twisted and dimented. Some parts of this book are the same way.  However, once it moved beyond Charlie and Isabelle, the story got more intriguing. I was glad I stuck it out. The ending had a twist extremely unexpected and at the same time, making total sense, connecting all the dots. Kinda like the endings to movies like Sixth Sence and THE Others.

Has anyone else read this book? What are your thoughts?


Last Edited on: 1/7/09 3:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 1/7/2009 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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I read it about 2 years ago and loved it.  I loved the Bronte-esque influences and the way it felt both fresh and old fashioned.  It was creepy, enthralling and dramatic.

Date Posted: 1/7/2009 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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I loved this book.  Actually, I liked the beginning of the book even more than the rest of it.  I just loved the description of her father's book store and what she did in it.  I guess this is just because nerdy-me just loves to touch and hold books.  I'm about to re-read Wuthering Heights from years ago, so maybe I will see the similarities that you mention.

Kat (polbio) -
Subject: Thirteenth tale
Date Posted: 1/7/2009 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I loved the book store too. IT reawakened my dream of owning one. The similarities are the house and the behavior of Charlie and Isabelle to Heathcliff and Catherine. THe location of the house with the homes below and the Moor. But the similarity ended there.

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,513
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I totally agree - what the book had to say about reading and why we read was absolutely breathtaking.

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2006
Posts: 626
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 8:50 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2007
Posts: 3,272
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Yep, this book is definetly a keeper!  We read it last year for my book club and everyone loved it.  In fact, one of the women had the paperback checked out from the library and liked just the first couple pages she went out and bought the hardback of it.

We are now reading Jane Eyre for our selection next month and I am hoping I still love it even after all of these years. 

Date Posted: 1/9/2009 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/8/2007
Posts: 8,523
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Kat, I definitely agree with you about it being the same as Wuthering Heights.  Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books, but this one wasn't that good to me.

Date Posted: 1/10/2009 1:02 AM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 147
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I too loved it!

Date Posted: 1/22/2009 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 147
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Loved it!!!

Date Posted: 1/22/2009 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,900
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I read this last year and loved it.  I posted it here and after I did that I realized my husband's granny would probably love it so I picked up a copy of it at a FOL sale and sent it to her.  Still waiting to hear her verdict.

Date Posted: 1/22/2009 10:15 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2008
Posts: 2
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I loved it!  A good friend gave it to me and I put off reading it. I couldn't put it down and then recommended it to all my friends.

Date Posted: 1/25/2009 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2007
Posts: 116
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i read it a few years ago as an ARC and thoroughly enjoyed it!!!
Date Posted: 1/28/2009 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 748
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I read somewhere that it was to be made into a movie this year, but I can't find information about it anywhere.  Have any of you heard that?

Date Posted: 1/28/2009 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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There's an IMDB entry for it, but its not listed as being in production, which means it could be years before a studio settles on a script/director, if ever.  But I've got my fingers crossed.

Date Posted: 1/30/2009 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2008
Posts: 1,275
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I just finished this one!  LOVED it!

I was having a hard time picking up the next book, cause I needed something equally as intriging to me.  After two failed attempts, I have settled into The Pillars of the Earth.  It's keeping my attention!

Subject: Love it!
Date Posted: 2/1/2009 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2008
Posts: 145
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I read this book in a day when it first came out. I recommend this to anyone and everyone :) I work at a used bookstore and when a customer comes in and wants me to recommend something I always choose this book first and foremost!


Date Posted: 2/2/2009 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
Posts: 329
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I just finished reading this book.  I absolutely loved it!  After I finished it I had to go back and flip through it to figure some things out.  (Don't read any further if you haven't read it.)  Which twin do you believe survived the fire?  I think it was Adeline and Vida continued to care for her even knowing this.  Any other thoughts on the matter?

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 2/3/2009 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I too think it was Adeline. And since Emmiline loved Adeline, Vida had no choice but to continue to care for her out of respect for Emmiline.  Also, Adeline was the one who went catatonic when she was separated from Emmiline as a child. I think Emmiline would have eventually recovered from the separation because she had Vida.

Date Posted: 2/16/2009 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2008
Posts: 5
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I also loved this book, and tried to get a couple of friends to read it but they couldn't get past the gothic tone.  That is what I loved about it, although when I discussed it I always used Jane Eyre as a refrence point because I prefer it to Wuthering Heights personally. 

Date Posted: 3/9/2009 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2009
Posts: 4
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Saw the cover on this book and just kept walking past it in the bookstore for over a year. Finally got to it- LOVED IT!

Was totally enthralled in the Jane Eyre/Turn of the Screw/Wuthering Heights melange. I only wish I owned it now.


Date Posted: 3/12/2009 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,816
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Hehe.  I am in the minority, but I didn't care much for it. <ducking>

Date Posted: 3/14/2009 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
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I loved the book, particularly the beginning, but found the Charlie and Isabelle section to be less interesting than all the rest of the book. I was a little disappointed at the solution to the mystery, since I'm not convinced it's something that could have been sustained for that length of time. That said, I plan to read the book again to see if I can be convinced. 


Date Posted: 5/2/2009 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
Posts: 118
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I have just finished reading it! I loved it! Now I want to read more in that style. Any suggestions?

Date Posted: 5/2/2009 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2006
Posts: 6,597
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If you liked The Thirteenth Tale, these books were also suggested as possibilities. (From the Lincoln City Libraries (Nebraska) website):

  • If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino [1981]
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly [2006]
  • The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski 
  • The Keep by Jennifer Egan [2006]
  • The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler [2004]
  • The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton [2007]
  • The Ghost Writer by John Harwood [2004]
  • Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman [2006]
  • The Savage Garden by Mark Mills [2007]
  • The Tattooed Girl by Joyce Carol Oates [2003]