I've just finished reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and I really enjoyed it. It was a quick and easy read, and I found it gripping from the very beginning. And I am a sucker for short chapters- I always flip ahead to see if I can finish the chapter before bed and end up carrying on through 3 or 4 more. The characters were well defined and described, and the plot was full of surprises and twisted discoveries. But what I loved the most, was Setterfield's explanations of place. The book revolves around three settings (one more significant than the others) and I always had a sense that I was inhabiting either the bookshop, the Winter Mansion or the Angelfield Estate along with the players in the story.
It is not a particularly happy book, what with neglect, violence, fire and a series of other tragic events, but it has its moments of redemption and reading it made me happy-- hence it's spot on the Happy blog. In fact, this is the first time I have devoured a book in ages, and it is such a joy to read for fun!
As I have admitted before on this blog, I am not much for reviewing books or movies- I end up getting bored and feeling like I am putting together some fifth-grade book report. So if you'd like to know more on this book, I recommend a quick Google search or looking it up on Amazon (there are lots of reader reviews). Or better yet, just read the book yourself.
To show that I am not totally lazy, I have copy and pasted this generic plot summary from some other site. Don't say I never do anything for you ;)
Vida Winter, the most famous novelist in England and quite possibly the world, has never been forthcoming when it comes to her past. Her entire life is a secret, and for fifty years reporters and biographers have attempted to discover the truth. With her health quickly fading, Ms. Winter enlists a bookish amateur biographer named Margaret Lea to bear witness to the tragic story of the Angelfield family, their eccentric beginnings as well as their demise. Margaret, who has family secrets of her own, must unravel the mysteries of the past in order to reconcile not only Miss Winter with her ghosts, but also Margaret with her own.
If you like to read a more personal and thoughtful review, check out this blog post from Black Eiffel.
... what to read next?!