Every year, my hometown has a program called “One Book/One Lincoln” where a committee chooses a book that everyone in town is supposed to read. Various discussion groups are held in libraries and other places. I’ve no wish to attend these tedious discussion groups, but this year, the program drew my attention to its pick, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. And I’m so glad it did! It’s a marvelous book on so many levels.
Without giving away the plot, it’s a traditional Gothic, with shades of Jane Eyre and Rebecca. You know –family secrets from the past, an engulfing fire, a lonely brooding mansion, passionate characters, etc. I’ve always loved Gothics. In fact, when I was writing my own book, Gilded Splendor, I thought I was writing a historical romance, until someone said, “This is a Gothic.” And I realized, “Oh! Of course, it is!” So it’s only natural I’m relishing The Thirteenth Tale.
It’s also a book about being a reader, and the pleasures of getting lost in stories and books.
Diane Setterfield is a reclusive academic, and this is her first book, but it quickly climbed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, making her an instant millionaire. What fun!
If you’re looking for a good read, pick up The Thirteenth Tale! It has kept me up reading into the late hours many a night.