Tuesday, September 29, 2009
BookLook Review "The Thirteenth Tale"
“The Thirteenth Tale” Begins our MonsterFest
It’s October (cue the scary music) and time once again for MonsterFest here at BookLook. I am not a fan of gross and gory, but I do love the occasionally creepy book in October. You know how you always buy that giant bargain bag of Halloween candy early even though you know you shouldn’t because you’ll just eat it, but you do it every year? “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield is just like that yummy bag of Halloween candy that you can’t stop eating once you start. It is a real treat!
The ill and aging Vida Winter has summoned Margaret Lea to write her biography. Vida is a famous author who has written twelve bestselling stories over several decades but remained mysterious to her adoring readers. Tending to reinvent her own bio at every press interview, the reclusive Vida has given the public a far from true picture of a glamorous star with a scandalous past. Margaret Lea is a young biographer living a quiet and lonely life with her father before she moves into Vida’s mansion to begin writing the thirteenth and final story for Miss Winters.
It is soon evident to Margaret why Vida has buried her past. It is monstrous. This is an insane family tree where all the twisted branches are wealthy misfits, asylum inmates and even murderers. The ghosts flit eerily across the gardens and into the dreams of the young writer who is haunted by her own family secrets. In the grand tradition of all English Gothic mysteries, the classic themes include abandonment, identity and unrequited love. However, Setterfield writes in a modern literature style that binds the two times together for the occasional novel reader or the avid book worm.
Filled with ghosts and suspense, “The Thirteenth Tale” may give you nightmares – but you‘ll enjoy them. The characters are safely bound by the cover of a book, and can’t jump out of the closet and get you. But be sure to have your big bag of Halloween trick or treat bag by your side when you read this chilling tale just for reassurance.