56. The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield)

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“A good story is always more dazzling that a broken piece of truth”

This book was a recommendation by a friend and it did not disappoint.  It started with Margaret, an unmarried woman who worked in her family’s bookstore, being asked to write the memoir of a popular writer who was dying.  This author, Vida was known to tell wild tales about herself and had written a popular novel that was originally titled The Thirteenth Tale.  This book had only 12 tales, leaving readers wanting for the final tale.

Margaret stays with Vida who imparts her life story in between bouts of pain as she is dying.  Vida starts at the beginning and describes the troubled life of Isabelle and Charlie, siblings who grew up in the Angelfield house.  Isabelle bears twin girls who live in the house, neglected by a mentally ill mother and uncle.  The girls run wild and are raised, haphazardly by the housekeeper, gardner and for a while, a governess.

“Human lives are not pieces of string that can be separated out from a knot of others and laid out straight.  Families are webs.  Impossible to touch one part of it without setting the rest vibrating.  Impossible to understand one part without having a sense of the whole”

As Vida shares the tale, Margaret visits the site of the old home which is on the verge of being torn down and meets a sad gentleman who had been abandoned as a child and has never known his family.  He becomes friends with Margaret as she visits the site and the two stories begin to collide as Margaret herself comes to terms with her own family secret.

The novel is intriguing and weaves the story lines and characters together so that the reader has all of the loose ends tied up n the end.  It is a terrific novel that I would recommend!

“Our lives at the start are not really our own but only the continuation of someone else’ story.”

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction

One response to “56. The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield)

  1. Pingback: 64. The Prison Book Club (Ann Walmsley) | A Year of Books

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