Sunday, September 28, 2008

Good Storytelling: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Late last night, I finished reading Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale.

The book probably falls under the heading 'gothic mystery'. But don't be turned off by that.

I'm usually not a fan of this genre; but good writing is good writing whatever the category, and there is plenty to be found here.

As for a plot summary, it's hard to summarize in just a few sentences. The library system's online catalog says it is "a compelling emotional mystery about family secrets and the magic of books and storytelling. A dying writer bids a young bookshop assistant to write her biography."

That's a start, but it doesn't really indicate the book's rich narrative, its story-within-a-story qualities, and its careful plotting.

If you are a fan of classics like Jane Eyre, Rebecca and Wuthering Heights, you will really enjoy this book. It's full of secrets, family madness, ghosts, a number of surprising twists and just plain hard-to-put-down storytelling.

It's definitely a recommended read and very worthy of book club consideration.