The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
by Diane Setterfield
And you thought your family was dysfunctional! I think I can honestly say I've never read anything like this. The characters, the plot... well, the plot does have some similarities with certain classics like Jane Eyre. But I thought, overall, that the whole thing was done very well.
Most of the fiction I read is from the YA genre. Though I did buy this book at a children's bookstore, it's not a book for younger readers. There are instances of incest, rape, murder, and child abuse. Older teens could probably handle the book, though, as none of these are explicitly graphic.
Though I ultimately ended up liking the book, it did take me a while to get through it. It is not a fast-paced story, by any means. The narrative ambles along, from one strange incident to the next, leaving the reader wondering if anything is ever going to make sense. The payoff comes in the last few pages, so I'm glad I didn't give up earlier!
As I was reading the book, I had some issues with certain characters. I didn't understand why they were doing what they were doing. However, these things ended up being explained quite well; I have to give the author credit there. Not all novels are internally consistent... especially ones with as many threads and twists as this one.
All in all, it was a good read. If anything, I wish the pace had been a little faster. But the conclusion is ultimately satisfying, so the journey was worthwhile.
Overall: 3.4 out of 5