Review: Diane Setterfield’s “The Thirteenth Tale”

by writereaderly

diane setterfield the thirteenth taleA second reserve-and-snaffle from the library, and my second Jane-Eyre–focussed book in as many days, this one was as gripping this time as the first. I first read this in a whirlwind just before moving o/s ‘x’ number of years ago, and for some reason it wafted back into my consciousness just recently – so fortuitous, it’s the perfect light literary gothic for the current circumstances.

Miss Vida Winter, reclusive writer of dazzling fame and beauty, asks biographer and antiquarian bookseller Margaret Lea to listen to the story of her life, only mythologised until now. The haunted Angelfield hall, wild twins Adeline and Emmeline, tragic fires at the crux of so many lives… It clearly bounces of James’ The Turn of the Screw, and does so well, and Setterfield’s tone is both 19th-century formal and absorbingly fluid. Great book, damned impressive first novel. Don’t miss it.

Where it came from: Library
Time and manner of reading:
Beddy, armchairy reads, with it misting up my head as I tried to carry on non-reading activities
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that: But sometimes love lasts to the second glance.
Who I’d recommend it to: Bookclub; and readerly readers after a good bit of lit gothic pleasure
Also reading: Rabbit #4; How to Read a Poem by Edward Hirsch; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; A Factory of Cunning by Philippa Stockley