The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – Throwback Thursday Book Review

I am revisiting some of my previously reviewed books and seeing how my opinion has changed (or not) after some time has passed. Today’s book is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

(Speaking of The Thirteenth Tale… we are in the process of choosing our next book club book and The Thirteenth Tale is one of the options we are considering. Click here to help us choose which book we should read next and to join in our discussion.)


The Thirteenth TaleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first read Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, this was my impression:

“Despite a strong thread of violence, madness and the fact that there were several very graphic descriptions, The Thirteenth Tale was an amazing book. Creepy and suspenseful, the writing was amazing and reminded me of books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights… a sort of Gothic horror story that may or may not be supernatural. In fact, the author skillfully uses Jane Eyre as part of the story. The twists at the end managed to take me by surprise but didn’t seem like they came out of nowhere which is always a risk when an author decides to do a big twist ending. While I am not usually a mystery fan and tend to avoid anything that hints at horror or the macabre, I am very glad that I picked up this book. It was well worth my time.”

But after reading and re-reading it several times, my fascination with this incredible book has only grown and it has become one of my all-time favorites. I think what I love the most about it is that The Thirteenth Tale is a book lover’s book… a love letter to literature and to the stories that shape us. I also love the way the author depicts storytelling in the book, with its power to both reveal and conceal the truth from the world and how our personal mythologies and archetypes impact the way we see ourselves and others. And on top of all of this, The Thirteenth Tale is an incredibly well-done mystery story that kept me guessing until the very end.

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10 Responses to The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – Throwback Thursday Book Review

  1. I reread it about a year after my first reading — I was as unsettled by it as I had been the first time!
    Another book I read twice in a short time – a matter of months – was The Time Traveller’s Wife. I reread it because I wanted to figure out how she did it – kept all the timelines straight and believable. Did I figure it out? No, but I enjoyed the reread just the same.

    • I think that unsettled feeling is part of why I love the book so much. I have had a lot in my life that was unsettling but the thought that you can sift and shape your experiences and identity through a story and make something beautiful, creative, and unique out of it, the way Vida Winters did, definitely appeals to the storyteller in me.

      The Time Traveller’s Wife is another one of my recent favorites. I love how she took a book about time travel and made it feel very un-sci-fi-ish if you know what I mean.

  2. Love your book reviews and website here. What a great concept! I’m going to have to pick up The Thirteenth Tale. I always enjoy a good mystery, and it’s been a while since I’ve read one!

    • So glad you enjoyed the review and my site! I hope you enjoy the book as well. If you get a chance, I would love to hear what you think of it after you finish reading it!

  3. I love that when you read and re-read a book it can still be as great as the first time you read it.

    It’s been waaaay too long since I’ve read a book. I need to get back into the habit of reading. It’s always so calming for me.

  4. Oooh, this sounds exciting. I’m not a big book reader, though. I’m just a jewellery, you see. But my pals and perhaps Eva would love this.. In fact, Eva loves the sound of Jane Eyre, so she will most likely enjoy this tale. Thanks for sharing it, hon. Keep smiling, you’re incredible! xx

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