Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

taleThe Thirteenth Tale is a gripping mystery written by Diane Setterfield. Captivating, suspenseful, and extremely well-written, it is one of my favorite novels. Our narrator, Margaret, works in her father’s out-of-print and rare bookshop in present day England. Margaret is contacted by famous and prolific author, Vida Winter. The mysterious Vida has written twelve “autobiographies,” each telling a wildly different story claiming to be her past and origin, and readers have long wondered which, if any, is her true story. But as her health has begun to decline, Vida wishes give her final and true autobiography, and she requests that Margaret transcribe it.

Enter Vida’s dark, gothic, and twisted story of two twins, Emmaline and Adeline, who never quite learned how to communicate, except with one another. Living in extreme conditions with deranged and incapable family members, their upbringing is one of disturbing neglect. But we are not told which twin is Vida, a mystery over which the reader aches with wonder. Original and addicting, this is an awesome and timeless book which I highly recommend.

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