Book review: The Thirteenth tale by Diane Setterfield
Updated: Aug 4, 2019
Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield)
Anyone who liked ‘Rebecca’, ‘Jane Eyre’ or ‘The Woman in White’ will enjoy this story. All families have secrets, some of them tragic. Margaret Lea spends most of her time in her father’s bookshop, mainly concentrating on biographical research. The letter she receives from famous author Vida Winter changes her life. Miss Winter wants her to write her life story, and Margaret holds back her own family secret to the end of their discussions. Vida Winter had published a book of thirteen tales, but the last story was missing. Margaret Lea is burdened with the task of writing the ‘thirteenth tale’, the real story of the life of Vida Winter. Her life somehow overlaps with Winter’s, and the common thread is the story of twins.
Setterfield draws us into this story, told in the first person, utilising the voice of Margaret Lea. She then switches to Vida Winters’s voice as she recounts her life story. Lea’s own tragic start to life is revealed to her, explaining the strained relationship she endures with her own mother. She then discovers parallels with the life of the person whose biography she attempts to write.