This book has already been reviewed here, but I’d like to add my two cents.
I really enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale. I love reading about dysfunctional families, and analyzing what makes people act or turn out the way they do. It’s discussed in the book that “everybody has a story” and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the eccentric Angelfield family and their story. It was fascinating to read about their lives, which were mysterious, tragic, scandalous, and yet loving in the end.
Having said this, I did have two complaints. First, while the book was beautifully written, I sometimes felt that it was slow moving during the parts that were narrated by Margaret. I think that if the author omitted descriptions of all the mundane tasks that the reader already assumes are happening, the book would have been about 100 pages shorter. Margaret eats dinner, Margaret unpacks, Margaret writes, Margaret takes the train. I almost wouldn’t have been surprised for the author to write about Margaret using the restroom for Pete’s sakes! I just wanted her to PLEASE finish the story! I even thought to myself, ‘If Margaret drinks one more cup of cocoa I’m going to stop reading this book!’
I read an online review that stated this perfectly: “Miss Setterfield often placed style over substance.”
My second beef with the book is that as a reader, the author intends for you to sympathize with Margaret, the narrator; but I found her to be too melodramatic. I felt that she went around feeling sorry for herself to an extreme that wasn’t believable. (Plus I was already annoyed with her for drinking all of that darn cocoa!) Yes, she suffered a loss in her life but haven’t we all? Get over it Margaret! And that goes for you too, Aurelius!
Luckily, the Angelfield part of the story made this an enjoyable read for me. I would highly recommend it because even during the slow parts, the writing is beautiful.