Pages

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Thirteenth Tale

by Diane Setterfield (Read September 2006)
Rating: 5/5
The night I finished Dracula I picked up this book to read 1 chapter before going off to sleep. I was captivated. The letter Vida Winters wrote to Margaret Lea asking Lea to write her biography aroused my interest but when I continued reading the next day I began to doubt the grasp of the story. My interest waned as the story became chimerical. I found myself wondering if Vida was hiding behind yet another fantastic story to hide the truth about her veiled past. And yet, why would she summon a biographer if she was not going to reveal the truth. If she was telling the truth then her past was definitely bizarre. I was loosing any previous attraction for the book.

My perserverence to the finish I owe to other bookbloggers' rave reviews. Thank-you for urging me on. Starting on page 172 the story grabbed me again and held me to the end. I am completely in love with the book and look forward to future works by Setterfield. She infuses words with magic and weaves a puzzling mystery. There were several times I thought I should mark a passage but that would mean getting out of the recliner and finding something to mark the page, so I don't have any to add to this review. In the future I will wish I could read over them.

This is book 3 out of the 5 I've chosen for the Fall RIP Challenge. My copy of 'Neverwhere' by Neil Gaiman came a couple of days ago, so I'll be starting it this evening. **rubbing hands together** Hope the library gets my copy of 'The Golem' in soon. If not, I'm thinking about 'Death in the Garden' from Jenclair's review or 'China Garden', a book from my shelves. Wow! What a smart idea that. I'll just have to see what my penchant is when the time comes.

28 comments:

Danielle said...

I am about half way through and yes, she does keep you reading. Am trying to figure out what Hester's motivation is...I hope to finish by the end of the week!

jenclair said...

I'm glad you had a turn around here; when I read that you were not as enthralled as you were initially (was that in a comment?)- I was disappointed.

China Garden sounds good, too!

hellomelissa said...

thanks for the tantalizing review! wish i had a good "neverwhere" book to suggest.

booklogged said...

Danielle, you're in for the best part of the book.

Jenclair, yes I did say that. All turned out well, though and I'm very glad I read it.

booklogged said...

Melissa, I'm reading Neverwhere right now. Just started so I still have the magic ahead.

Bellezza said...

booklogged, I started Neverwhere on Friday when it came in from Amazon.com and I am very intrigued with it! It's going to be great to talk with you about it. Of course, I've also purchased the Thirteenth Tale and can't wait to get into that as well. Carl V. was quite entranced by it, as you seem to be, so I anticipate greatness.:)

I'm thinking of The Historian (last year's great Dracula tale) and wonder if thi will compare. Looking forward to more dialogue with you when I'm done.

Joy said...

WOW...a "5"!!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I'm scheduled to read it with a book club in February. These kinds of books are really not my thing, but I'm willing to give this one a try.

Kailana said...

I am so glad that everyone is loving this book! I am like a walking advertisement for it, and it is awesome that I am not alone in loving it and I am not recommending a bad book!

Cam said...

I've never read anything by Gaiman before, but when I picked up a copy of Neverwhere in the used bookstore the other day and read the first few pages, well, I just couldn't put it back on the shelf. I can't wait until my day off -- I know once I pick up where I reluctantly left off, about 50 pages in, I won't stop until I'm finished!

Framed said...

I was so excited when you didn't like this book because I wouldn't have to add it to the list. Now look what you've done. I think it was the use of the word chimerical. Great word. Great review

Anonymous said...

Oh ditto what Framed said :-)/ ;-(

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, booklogged!

I'm so excited you got to read this much-talked-about book and that you enjoyed it! Knowing you like it has definitely motivated me to want to read it, too (Carl V has also recommended it highly). In case I start out not liking it too much, I will have to remember that magic page #172!

Thanks for another great review!

Carl V. said...

I'm glad you persevered and ended up liking the book. I didn't have the same experience as you did...from the second or third page on I was in love with every page of this book.

You've picked a great follow up book. I always envy people their first read of Neverwhere. It has been a favorite since it was first published and I've read it every year (bit of a Gaiman fanatic, really) and look forward to his newest short story collection, Fragile Things, which is out next Tuesday!!!

iliana said...

I haven't started this yet but I'm so ready to do so. I'm afraid that if I start it now though the other books I've got going on will be left for good :)

Les said...

Wowzers! A perfect 5/5, eh? I'm trying to finish my Back to School Classic Challenge before diving into The Thirteenth Tale (which is sitting on the top of my nightstand stack), but I may have to take a break and read this highly acclaimed book. Sounds like everyone is enjoying it. Thanks for the heads-up about when it picks up. This is a good sign, as many of my 5/5 books take a good 100-150 pages to get me fully hooked.

Susan Abraham said...

I love the picture of The Thirteenth Tale, Booklogged! What a treat for you after Dracula!

Myke said...

Wow! At this rate you'll have completed the chalenge with weeks to spare!

Intrigueing review!

Lesley said...

I can't wait to read this book! I'm going to read it as part of the challenge, too.

Colleen Gleason said...

Oooh, I am so excited to read this book, especially after reading your review!

I just got it on Tuesday. The question is whether Carl will let me read it before I have to read Dracula. (He's appalled that I haven't read Dracula yet.) ;-)

But, before either of them, I have to read the entire, unabridged Count of Monte Cristo for a project I just got contracted to do. It's 1243 pages long, but I started it last night and this is such a great translation, I'm already hooked.

booklogged said...

Bellezza, I checked out the Historian yesterday. Figured I needed to read it as a follow-up to Dracula.

Joy, this book was a bit weird, but did turn out to be a good tale.

Kailana, your enthusiasm for the book is one reason I read it.

Cam, I finding the same thing happening to me. Neverwhere really draws you in.

Framed and SuziQ, I agree. When will the madness of wanting to read it all come to an end?!

booklogged said...

Lotus, others don't seem to have the problem of reading to page 172 to get entrenched, so maybe you won't either.

Carl, yay I did it! Am enjoying Neverwhere greatly, thanks to your recommend of it.

Iliana, that's one of the joys of books - they can wait for you.

Les, I hope all the hype doesn't implode on itself. Will be anxious to hear your thoughts after you read it.

Susan, The cover just seemed to grab me by the lapels and pulled me in.

Myke, it seems like I read sooo slowly, but I guess the list is growing smaller.

booklogged said...

Lesley, let me know when you finish it. I love to read others' book reviews.

Colleen, you've got to be so busy what with reading and writing. With your vampire books you really MUST read Dracula. I think you'll enjoy it and it may spark further ideas for your series.

Bookfool said...

Oh, wow, now it's going to drive me nuts waiting for this book to arrive! Great review. Thanks!

Library Lady said...

Ew, five out of five, I placed this on hold!

If NoveList isn't available at your local library try ours for a little while...

http://library.msstate.edu/magnolia/public.asp?id=27

password...magn0128

Love the reviews, M

Carl V. said...

I give you permission to read Thirteenth Tale first Colleen...especially since I am still somewhat unsettled at your Dracula admission. I'm glad to see that you are working on ammending that. ;)

Mistress Regina said...

Interesting what you see lurking in the background beyond what is meant to be strikingly clear. It is something that can be a challenge when you are working with a large group of writers and a library of stories.

Marg said...

This book is next up after I finish the one I am reading at the moment...can't wait!

Laura said...

You wrote a very good review. I passed the book on to my daughter with the warning not to give up, because once the story kicks in, it really moves. Can I tell you what books it reminded me of in parts without spoiling it for anyone else? (WARNING! To any unsuspecting reader reading this comment who hasn't read the book - read no more of the comment!)

I thought of The Shipping News (which I hated, but read to the bitter end because a trusted friend recommended it) and The Other, although the ending in TTT was even twistier than the ending of The Other.

The book has been compared numerous times to Jane Eyre, but I just couldn't see that at all.