The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield #review

Title: The Thirteenth Tale
Author: Diane Setterfield
Publisher: Orion Publishing


Everybody has a story… Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once home to the March family: fascinating, manipulative Isabelle; brutal, dangerous Charlie; and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline.

But the house hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart… Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past, and its mysterious connection to the enigmatic writer Vida Winter. Vida’s history is mesmering – a tale of ghosts, governesses, and gothic strangeness.

But as Margaret succumbs to the power of her storytelling, two parallel stories begin to unfold… What has Angelfield been hiding? What is the secret that strikes at the heart of Margaret’s own, troubled life? And can both women ever confront the ghosts that haunt them…? The Thirteenth Tale is a spellbinding mystery, a love letter to storytelling, and a modern classic. 

[My Review]

The Thirteenth Tale is a book I’d heard a lot about, but which just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I struggled to really get into it; I felt it could have been cut down quite a lot in parts, and it switches between characters a lot. Sometimes I found it difficult to work out which storyline we’re reading.

However, there were parts of this book that I really enjoyed. There’s some dark, weird bits which I actually found far more interesting to read, though they might be quite disturbing to some readers – however it fits with the gothic elements.

I think Diane Setterfield’s writing is really beautiful, and there are some very quotable passages and lines which are just wonderful. Some of the quotes the characters say are very powerful and I can appreciate them, and completely see why The Thirteenth Tale has enchanted so many other readers – it just didn’t quite do it for me.



    • Ooh interesting, I’ve just googled it and recognise the cover – have definitely seen it before! I will add that to my list, as I thought Diane Setterfield’s writing was beautiful, it was just the story that didn’t grab me – and the synopsis for Once Upon A River sounds great! Thanks 😀

  1. Your review made me go sleuthing online! I was interested to read that it was first published in 2006 and was made into a TV drama starring Olivia Coleman and Vanessa Redgrave in 2013! My appetite is whetted, thanks!

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