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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press (October 9, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0743298039 Review
Settle down to enjoy a rousing good ghost story with Diane Setterfield's debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale. Setterfield has rejuvenated the genre with this closely plotted, clever foray into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths. She never cheats by pulling a rabbit out of a hat; this atmospheric story hangs together perfectly.

There are two heroines here: Vida Winter, a famous author, whose life story is coming to an end, and Margaret Lea, a young, unworldly, bookish girl who is a bookseller in her father's shop. Vida has been confounding her biographers and fans for years by giving everybody a different version of her life, each time swearing it's the truth. Because of a biography that Margaret has written about brothers, Vida chooses Margaret to tell her story, all of it, for the first time. At their initial meeting, the conversation begins:

"You have given nineteen different versions of your life story to journalists in the last two years alone."
She [Vida] shrugged. "It's my profession. I'm a storyteller."
"I am a biographer, I work with facts."

The game is afoot and Margaret must spend some time sorting out whether or not Vida is actually ready to tell the whole truth. There is more here of Margaret discovering than of Vida cooperating wholeheartedly, but that is part of Vida's plan. The transformative power of truth informs the lives of both women by story's end, and The Thirteenth Tale is finally and convincingly told.

This is the third year in a row that I have read The Thirteenth Tale for the RIP challenge.

Although this is a mystery.. and I do know the outcome, I still enjoyed reading this book.  Maybe it's because I am older and forget more, and forget it more quickly, I'm not sure.  But I do know that as I began the book, it did not take long to grab hold of me to begin me on the journey that Margaret was about to begin when she decided to write Vida Winter's biography.

For anyone who loves books this is a good book to read.  In the beginning of the book, when Margaret was not sure she wanted to do the biography, while in her apartment  I came across this passage of Margarets behavior:

It was nearly time.  I moved swiftly.  In the bathroom I soaped my face and brushed my teeth.  By three minutes  to eight I was in my nightdress and slippers, waiting for the kettle to boil. Quickly, quickly.  A minute to eight my hot water bottle was ready, and I filled a glass with water from the tap.  Time was of the essence.  For at eight o'clock the world came to an end.  It was reading time.

I can't tell you how many times I have come close to this exact statement! At about seven each night I shut down my computer, turn off the living room television and fan and get ready to pile up my pillows on my bed to lean against and to grab my current read and "hit the bed to read"! Nearly ALL the time.. same routine!

This book, as it has done two other times, just takes a hold of me and I read way more hours than I normally do. I don't seem to get as tired as quickly and one chapter leads to another and another as that's how this story goes..I just could not put it down.

You find yourself wondering if you missed a clue to anything. (and more than likely you have, but that's ok you will remember them when the time is right.) And other times you find yourself trying to figure out a piece of the story before it is revealed by Vida Winter. 

This is such a fantastic book.  The writing just refuses to let you go and do anything but continue reading, and once you are sucked into the mystery (which doesn't take long!) you just have to know those untold secrets !

It's so much fun when the secrets begin to emerge and you find yourself asking why you missed the clues!  So subtle.  But they are all there!

I may actually try hard to not reread it again next year, just to give it a rest and make it so i forget even more before reading it again.. but down the road.. I WILL reread it again.

Yeah.. in my opinion.. The Thirteenth Tale is that good!

Here is a link to my 2008 review.

Here is a link to my 2007 review.

This is the Third book I've read for the RIP challenge.


Anonymous Fourteen said...

Your skin looks fine and your hair is wonderful. I think it's time to change the intro (instead of inventing other 'RIP challenges').

5:56 AM  
Blogger Astaryth said...

I saw this book on a table at the local bookshop last week when I was in there. I remembered that you liked it. I was in there looking for another book (which I found!). I will have to add this to my TBB (to be bought) list :)

9:33 AM  
Blogger Astaryth said...

Oh, I almost forgot. For books that you would like to try, but aren't sure you want to own (Like Host), I may have a solution for you now that you are living in FL! Some (not all, unfortunately) of the libraries here in FL offer a service that delivers books you order right to your mailbox! You get a library card, then you go to their website, find the book you want, request it and they send it to you. When you are done you return it the same way. I don't know if your local library is doing it, but I do know that when I lived near Orlando the library I used was doing it. Just a thought. I know it helps MY budget when I borrow a book instead of spending money on it. Especially if I'm not sure I will like it enough to want to re-read it. Not that it stops me from spending money at the bookstore, but it helps! :)

9:38 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Fourteen: did you put your glasses on? lol just kidding. Where in NJ are you from? just moved from there. was born and raised in NJ

thanks JJ I will try to look into that!

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so lovely when you have a book that you can reread every year and it's still just as wonderful every time. I haven't read this since the first time - now you've got me wanting to revisit it!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Kailana said...

I really need to reread this. It was such a great book when I read it the first time around!

11:34 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

I really enjoyed this one. I need to reread at some point. I do love a good reread :) (For me, that book that is Frankenstein!) Slightly off topic, have you gotten a chance to open A Monster's Note? I'm currently reading (or trying at the very least) it now.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

I read this book about two years ago and absolutely loved it! I definitely need to think about re-reading again.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Nymeth said...

I love how this became a yearly RIP tradition for you :D But yes, sometimes it's good to forget the story before rediscovering it again!

5:22 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

That animation is so good! You got the candles reflection down and everything!! Love it :D

Oh you're making me want to dive right into this one again. I just love the thick atmosphere that drips from this book. I really want to reread Ray Bradbury's The halloween Tree too!! So good!

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

I've been meaning to read this book for a very long time. Your review makes me want to run to the bookstore and buy it right now!
Have fun with the rest of the challenge. :)

9:17 PM  
Blogger Gavin said...

Third time? I guess I need to add it to my list! I'm going to start The Historian in the next day of so. Lots of people love it.

9:52 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

jenny: I like rereads and rewatching movies for all the little things I missed the first time..

kelly: it's a reread book for sure!!

Becky: no i haven't opened A Monsters Notes.. but what you said doesn't sound good. what's is it about the book that's bothering you?

Molly:everything about this book makes me reread it. it's just written soooooo well.

Nymeth I am going to TRY not to read it next year lol.. who knows?

Chris thank you thank you.. I don't spend the time I used to on animation but I do like when one looks good! Often I would just plain forget the reflection! lol

Ana: if and when you get it I sure hope you enjoy it! It's a mystery you find yourself trying to figure out yourself! lol

Gavin: It's a gothic type mystery. It involves some not so nice "deep dark family secrets" and it written very very well. It's not for everyone, but I'd say 95% of any review of this book i've read is that they love it.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Cath said...

Oooh, I didn't realise this was a book of secrets and clues and so forth. Great! I'm going for it in a couple of weeks. Working my way up to it with a few easy reads.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

Your third time through and you're loving it just as much...that says soooo much right there! I do hope this is the year I finally get to it!

11:30 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Cath: i will really be shocked if you don't enjoy this book!

Debi: oh please read it!!!

4:22 PM  
Blogger Memory said...

What a great R.I.P. tradition! I can definitely understand wanting to take a break from a yearly reread, though. I have a particular series I used to reread every year, and I got to know them so well that I've decided to give it a rest for a little while. I want to forget some of the twists and turns so I can rediscover them!

4:37 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Memory; well unfortunately that's fairly easy for me.. my memory sucks lol

4:45 PM  
Blogger Carl V. said...

I love it that you've read this one every year. I have only read it the one time but took it off my shelf the other day and put it on my bedside table because I am really wanting to read it again. I forget things as well. I was reading another review of Thirteenth Tale today and the reviewer mentioned a character that I don't remember at all! :) I think it is time for a re-read!

I love the candles flickering around the book, by the way.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Daphne said...

I can't wait to read it... it sounds like one of those books where you become envious of those who are about to read it for the first time... I have quite a few of those. So, I'm glad my turn to read something fabulous, for the FIRST time, is coming right up!

4:58 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Daphne: oh yeah! but there are a few who don't think this book is that good, I hope you are NOT one of them..

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw your link for this book on the R.I.P.IV Challenge review list. I've been eyeing this book but I wasn't so sure--it's backcover blurb doesn't really sell it well. But, I'm going to get it because of your review. Thanks for the post!

Btw,you must be a fun person to have such a funny,attention-getting "About Me" write-up.

Hope you don't mind me linking up to your blog. :)

6:52 AM  

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