June 2024
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The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

Margaret Lea has little interest in living people, so when Vida Winter contacts her requesting her to write the famous author’s biography, she is perplexed. Luckily for her, and us, she goes to meet Ms. Winter, and before her unfolds a story that draws her in and consumes her every waking moment.

There are several really great things about this book. The first is its plot. I for one did not guess at all what was to happen, unless Margaret made a guess at it. There were several points where I was completely surprised at the turn of events. I was also very absorbed into the story, though it was layers deep. It is very compelling. The book is well-written and perfect for book lovers like me. Setterfield weaves in many 19th century classics, as apparently they are both Margaret’s and Ms. Winter’s favorites (as they are mine).

I have to admit that as much as I was interesting in the story Vida Winter was telling, and the plot relating to Aurelius, Margaret herself did not interest me. I can’t admit to understanding what she went through, but at times I did feel like she was far too melodramatic about everything. I suppose it was appropriate to the tone of the novel, but I wished she’d stop complaining so we could get back to the main mystery. This minor qualm is really my only problem with it, and perhaps someone who was more like Margaret or had a similar experience would feel that her behavior was perfectly appropriate – I can’t judge, but I personally was impatient with her character.

I’d recommend this, especially to someone who loves books or mysteries.


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