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Book Review of The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale
curledupwithabook avatar reviewed on + 169 more book reviews

An absorbing novel about a dying author who shares the mystery of her life with a biographer. The author, Vida Winter, beloved for her books, is also known for never providing the same story twice about her background. In her final months of life, she opts to tell the "real" story of her life to Margaret Lea, bookworm extraordinaire, whose first love is researching and (less frequently) writing about historical figures.

I was immediately drawn to the story due to Setterfield's obvious understanding of those who live for a good book. Her descriptions of the bookshop, owned by Margaret's father, and how Margaret cares for the books - even describing the smells of the old volumes, struck a chord with me and made me feel connected to the author.

The convoluted mystery behind Ms. Winter's true identity is delicious! Full of shadows, creaky floorboards, illicit love affairs, lunacy, murder, and ghosts. Setterfield draws it out, story by story, as Ms. Winter's becomes weaker and weaker. Many nights I stayed up well past my bedtime to finish the next chapter. My only complaint was that everything, is tied up just a bit too tidily for me, but at least all the questions are answered, and I like that. Add this one to your TBR list - you won't be disappointed.