Goodreads Monday – The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

It’s the first Goodreads Monday of 2020, friends! This weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners and it invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.

This week’s featured book is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I don’t remember when I first came across this book but it’s been on my Goodreads TBR for five years already! I’m not really sure what genre this would be classified as but Wiki is telling me it’s gothic suspense! It has a 3.96 star average with 263k+ ratings and 22.2k+ reviews, which is pretty great!

All children mythologize their birth…So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter’s collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself — all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter’s story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling but remains suspicious of the author’s sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.

Why do I want to read it?

I mean, how can I not want to read The Thirteenth Tale after reading such an intriguing synopsis?! It’s basically screaming at me to get my hands on it. Plus it’s a combination of some of my favourite things such as books about books, magic, and historical fiction! I’m not sure if this falls in the magical realism zone(?) and if I have any concerns about reading it that would be my only worry! I’ve said before that I’m kind of love/hate with magical realism so let’s see if this falls on the love scale 🤞🏽 Oh actually, I have also heard it’s a little creepy/spooky and we all know I’m The Ultimate Chicken™️ so let’s see how that works out for me, too 😂 I’ve heard a lot of positive things about it, especially Setterfield’s writing, so I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

Have you read The Thirteenth Tale or is it on your TBR?

26 thoughts on “Goodreads Monday – The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

    1. The more I think about it, the spooky factor is really probably the main thing that’s making me hesitate in picking up 😂 Beats the fear of magical realism! Haha I just saw that this was a movie too and now I’m really curious!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This one has been on my TBR and shelf for years, too! It’s been recommended to me over and over. I also have a love/hate relationship with magical realism, so I think that’s why I haven’t picked it up either. Hopefully we can both get to it soon–and love it!

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    1. The spooky factor might be winning out over the magical realism factor for reasons why I’m not picking it up (now) but I’m still very curious! It sounds so fantastic but I hope that it doesn’t lose me in the writing 😂 Hope we both enjoy it eventually!

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          1. It’s sooooo good Dini! Like yes not gonna lie, it’s a little bit creepy but not in a way that will end up with you losing sleep. And it’s just super atmospheric. I wouldn’t really call it magical realism but more a world that has old wives tales that are a bit more true than ^tale^

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          2. I’M EVEN MORE CURIOUS NOW BUT I’M SCARED!!! Hahaha I really don’t deal with ghosty things well 😂😂😂 but your all caps has convinced me to bump this up my TBR, Emer. Well done on the convincing! 😆 (Seriously, I’ll be picking it up at some point this year LOL I’ll wait until June/July when we get cooler winds here from Australia’s winter and I’ll have some hot choc with it ☕️)

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