Book Escape in New West: Reviews & News

From suspenseful reads to literary tweeds…

Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Jane Eyre would be complimented by Diane Setterfield’s novel, The Thirteenth Tale, in which Jane is referred to often. It took many years for Diane Setterfield to write this book with gothic flair, and it was a smash before it was even published. UK and US copyrights were auctioned off for enormous amounts, considering it was an author’s first book. Why did this happen? It is a page turner that you will not want to put down. And, my sense is that the publishers’ felt it was a good women’s book, a book club book, and women purchase more fiction than men so it would be an easy sell. Is it a book that I would rave about to friends telling them that they have to read it? No. So, for me it is not a five star but a four. Don’t misunderstand – you will have an enjoyable time reading this tale. It has enough twists to keep you wondering although the final one seems to stretch into the fantastical realm.

I watched an interview with Diane Setterfield on YouTube, and she reminds me of a little squirrel:  chipper, quick, playful and shy. Link here: Diane Setterfield. Her story is a story in itself; there is a lot of hard work behind every star that is born.

The Thirteenth Tale reminds me of a soap opera containing:  murder, implied incest, a clandestine affair, and family tragedy. It is not particularly frightening although there are a few ghosts, physically and metaphorically. You would think that it would be a great book club read, but this is not necessarily so. My club just read and discussed it. The general feeling was that it was well liked. I felt it fell short though in the discussion. We had questions to follow, but there was always a consensus with the answers. It did not incite great debates or passionate verbal tangos; it was more like a pleasant waltz. So, you might want to pass on this one if you are looking for a book club read with some meat .

I would recommend The Thirteenth Tale as an enjoyable Summer read.


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Pauline Probyn

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