Retro Review & Giveaway: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Time for Retro Review Sunday, digging through the shelves for books from ages past that should be remembered. 

Today, I’m talking about a sorta-gothic, sorta-mystery book, which I was amazed to see one of you commenters reading on Friday *waves at Ryan*. I first read The Thirteenth Tale during Mardi Gras in early 2008, and I remember it was cold as a witch’s mitt that year and I had the book with me as I sat on the parade route, waiting for the next parade to start because I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those “gotta see what happens” books. Read on for a chance to win a copy! (And if, like Ryan, you already have The Thirteenth Tale or have read it, I’ll substitute another retro read of my choice if you win.)

ABOUT THE BOOK: Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny….Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness — featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess,a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

MY THOUGHTS: This books isn’t really urban fantasy, although it is set in the real world (England) and has elements of the supernatural. I’d call it more gothic, just for the dark and mysterious feel to it. But the characters are fascinating, and the settings–from the bookstore to the run-down estate, from the present and into the past–are engrossing. If you haven’t read it, you need to!

Want to win a copy of The Thirteenth Tale? As with all the retro reviews, this is a used copy, but is in great condition (no smoke, no pets, etc). As always, to enter: +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for Tweet/Retweet. If you have read The Thirteenth Tale and would rather I substitute another of my retro favorites, just let me know!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

11 thoughts on “Retro Review & Giveaway: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

  1. I remember seeing blog posts on this book and some reviews and I thought it sounded interesting but I never added it to my wishlist or tried to buy it. Don’t know why except that I have a wishlist miles long!

    If the giveaway is open worldwide, I would like to be entered in the giveaway.

    I follow via GFC.


    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  2. Sounds interesting, glad it’s a smoke free book. Nothing is worse than the lingering scent of cigarettes or worse cigars. (Gagging at the thought.)

    Twitter follower Ash131618

  3. This has been on my wish list for a while. I’ve read great things about it, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’d love to win a copy!

    +1 comment
    +1 twitter follower (@afewmorepages)

    srfbluemama at gmail dot com