Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

Rating: 3 out of 5 horses (average)

Pages: 432

Challenges: New Author, Audio, Support your Local Library, Dewey Recommended, Numbers, Book Awards, 20 in 2009

Synopsis (and picture from BN.com)
Margaret Lea works in her father's antiquarian bookshop where her fascination for the biographies of the long-dead has led her to write them herself. She gets a letter from one of the most famous authors of the day, the mysterious Vida Winter, whose popularity as a writer has been in no way diminished by her reclusiveness. Until now, Vida has toyed with journalists who interview her, creating outlandish life histories for herself - all of them invention. Now she is old and ailing, and at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to Margaret is a summons.

Somewhat anxiously, the equally reclusive Margaret travels to Yorkshire to meet her subject - and Vida starts to recount her tale. It is one of Gothic strangeness featuring the March family; the fascinating, devious and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline.

Margaret is captivated by the power of Vida's storytelling. But as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction, and she doesn't entirely trust Vida's account. She goes to check up on the family, visiting their old home and piecing together their story in her own way. What she discovers on her journey to the truth is for Margaret a chilling and transforming experience.
I was disappointed in this book. I think that it is possible it was all the great reviews it has gotten, but also that I read it over a period of time. I think I might have enjoyed it more if I read it faster and would have kept the characters straight. Although the end of the book did surprise me which was nice.


Alyce said...

I totally understand about having a book be built up by so many only to let you down. It's too bad that this book didn't shine for you.

I personally loved the book, but I was coming off of a dry spell where I had only read nonfiction for months. It was the perfect book at the perfect time for me. I did read it all at once, so maybe that had something to do with it too.

Thoughts of Joy said...

I rated this one a 3.75/5. I loved the author's writing, but not so much the story line. I would read another by her.