Reader reviews and comments on The Thirteenth Tale, plus links to write your own review.

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The Thirteenth Tale

by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield X
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 416 pages
    Oct 2007, 432 pages


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There are currently 19 reader reviews for The Thirteenth Tale
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My Favorite Book Ever
I loved this book from start to finish. Great story, well written, entertaining. My favorite book ever. Can't wait for the next one.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the way it was written and found myself struck many times by lines or images the author "created." I put it down a few times simply because I didn't want it to end. Very, very good.

Brief Encomium
Words fail to describe how much I enjoyed reading a tale so well written and engrossing. Suffice to say that I was extremely disappointed to learn that this is Ms. Setterfield's debut novel as I immediately wanted to relish more of her works. I look forward to the time when I can open another of her books and sink into it.

Beautifuly Written, Crafted, and Loved
This is such a wonderful book! It is pure bliss for the bibliophile and such joy for those who love great writing. The story is message and the words are the medium. I read a great deal of fiction and have been haunted and thrilled by this book. It does make one realize that great writing and story-telling are alive and well in this new century.

Best Piece of Writing in a While
Although the story line is not tremendously active, the author uses perfect writing techniques and beautiful illiteration to produce a chilling tale. If she was trying to recapture the subtle haunting effect seen in old Victorian novels, she succeeded.
Power Reviewer

This Book Haunted Me
What a wonderfully woven tale! Like an old quilt that you curl up in and smell the mustiness of olden days. I was immediately transported back to the tales of Dickens and Bronte(s) and Doyle. Yet, this book can just as easily entertain any modern day reader. The mysterious plot keeps you guessing and each chapter stays with you long after you've set the book down (if you can!). The author's beautiful descriptions of and respect for books themselves warmed my heart - any avid reader and bibliophile will relate!

A Good Winter Read
I started this book several times - laying it down for a faster paced read while traveling or participating in my book club - but I had the opportunity to pick it up again in these long winter days, relax with a cup of tea and begin to enjoy the complexities of the story. The characters are well developed, and in the 2nd section, the story begins to come alive. The writing is very reminiscent of classic English authors, and so it has the feel of the novels it often mentions with such fondness - but with a distinct modern voice that does not hide the dark inferences of the secrets of aristocracy as deeply or heavily veiled as her earlier mentors. Thankfully for the investment of time and emotion required, the ending of the story is one of the most satisfying reading experiences I have had in a long time. Stick with will be worth it in the end.

A gothic tale well told
My thoughts in summary: 'Recommended with some reservation.' Having read many reviews of 'The Thirteenth Tale', I really wanted to read---and I really wanted to like---this book: a book lovers book set in current day England, but written in gothic style. However, during my reading I set the book aside on two separate occasions, not planning to finish it. But I returned a third time and saw it through to the end. (Long ago I learned not to finish a book just because I had started reading it. I also learned that just because I had purchased a book that I didn't have to be robbed of both my money and my time if there were reasons that I was not enjoying it.) The beginning of the book is wonderful: the description of the antiquarian book shop and Margaret's (the first person writer) love for books. But soon I reached the story of the Angelfield brother and sister, Charlie and Isabelle...the reasons for my twice setting the book aside. Having said that, my recommendation is "Don't give up on it." While the story is dark, it is extremely well written and suspenseful. And the subject matter being what it is, the author does a remarkable job of telling the story without dwelling on, or detailing, the distasteful.
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