Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth TaleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Thirteen Tale is an intricately-woven tale by Diane Setterfield, revolving around the story of our protagonist, Margaret Lea, as she is being invited by the mysterious celebrated author, Vida Winter, to write her biography. She finds herself captivated by the life of the dying author, who wants to fulfill her promise to herself that she would let her story come out one day. Along with journeying through Vida’s life, Margaret confronts with the ghost of her twin sister, she had lost just after her birth. This is a precisely written layered book brimmed with mysteries and the horrors of life.

The author explores many domains such as sibling-relationship, twin mindsets, psychology, etc. in her debut bestselling work.

Positive thoughts:

1. The story is fascinating. It enraptures one into a reading spree through the well-divided sections of the book. The mysterious aspect of the book is commendable.

2. Having certain features of an English ghost story, this book looks carefully through life situations and the relationships. The twin-relationship is one important feature of the book.

3. The writing style is modernly old. It is interesting and easy to read.


1. The writing style is not very original. It is thoroughly influenced by Charlotte Bronte and other classic authors and thus deals with the same problem of being boring and cumbersome at certain stances in the story.

2. The climax of the story is good but it fades when compared with the climax-building. Moreover, it appears to be a haphazard affair.

3. The character-sketch can best be said as just passable.

It is an intriguing book, a page-turner actually. It is for all those who seek a nice English mystery along with the cozy feeling of reading life stories. I would definitely recommend it to be a good read.

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