I recently finished The Thirteenth Tale, which started out as not seeming that good, to me not being able to put it down. I'm pretty sure I sat in the bath for almost 2 hours because I was desperate to finish the story. However, as amazing as it is, I'm finding it extremely hard to explain.
'Vida Winter, a best-selling yet reclusive novelist, has created many outlandish histories for herself, all of them an invention. Now old and ailing, at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to biographer Margaret Lea - a woman with secrets of her own - is a summons.
Vida's tale is one of Gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family; the beautiful and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret succumbs to the powers of Vida's storytelling, but as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction and she doesn't trust Vida's account.
As she begins her researches, two parallel stories unfold. Join Margaret as she begins her journey to the truth - hers, as well as Vida's.'
This description dragged me as soon as I read it when I was wandering dangerously round Waterstones one afternoon. I love a good Gothic/Jane Eyre genre and this sounded especially strange. When I find myself trying to summarise the plot, I seem to get myself getting very confused. There are so many different layers to the story that it really is impossible to give you an accurate description. There are also a few moments in the story that I don't quite understand myself, so how am I supposed to portray it to you!
Basically; the theme of the story is twins, Adeline and Emmeline. A dysfunctional, misunderstood family in an isolated mansion who are flawed, but full of life. Vida Winter's story literally pulled me in from the first line. But she's known for her storytelling so the whole way through the book, you're constantly doubting her. Is she telling the truth?
Margaret Lea soon finds herself falling into the story of Miss Winter; with secrets of her own and eventually finding closure.
And then, when you think you have it all figured out.. No you don't. Wham, bang, thank you ma'am, nobody saw that coming! I love the twist at the end, even if I don't fully understand it. The way the book is written is very clever and it does require you to think about what's happening. It's not an easy read, so if that's what you're looking for, this isn't for you.
I actually had to wait a week or so before I started another book because I just couldn't get these characters out of my head. I clearly got a little too involved. But isn't that what is great about a book? I definitely recommend this book to someone who wants a thought-provoking read and wants to find themselves really falling into the story.
Have you read this?
- Charli, xo