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Monday, October 21, 2013

31 Days of Horror: Day 21-- Leanne Suggests The Thirteenth Tale

Today we have Leanne:
I work at a small public library in the western suburbs.  Autumn is one of my favorite seasons because of the color changes, new beginnings, and the opportunity to refocus.  When I'm not reading, you can find me relaxing with family and friends, singing in choir, and volunteering with community groups like the Woodridge Jaycees.
Leanne wanted to learn more about what kind of horror she likes, so she used one of my resources to identify a possible title.  I am happy to report, she enjoyed it.

Take it away Leanne...

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I had never given much thought to the horror genre, but in the interest of expanding my tastes, I chose to read The Thirteenth Tale  by Diane Setterfield.  It came off a list from RA For All called "Horror for the Squeamish." My interest piqued when the temperatures dropped down, the days shortened, and I was hooked into reading this novel.

This gothic novel unfolds slowly, but ends with satisfying character development.  Young biographer Margaret Lea is commissioned by the great novelist Vida Winter to write a factual story of her life before her death.  At first skeptical, Lea verifies Winter's three facts before proceeding with the project.  After confirming the existence of the Angelfield estate, and that Vida Winter's real name was once Adeline March, Lea engages in her writing as Winter weaves together the story of her dark parentage, the decay and deaths within Angelfield, and the love she had for her lost twin, Emmeline March.
More questions arise as the months pass.  Why was the gardener Aurelius abandoned sixty years ago in a canvas bag with a feather inside? What happened to the one time governess, Hester Barrow, and the doctor with whom she conducted twin experiments? And what secrets is Margaret Lea carrying herself with the scar on her right torso?

Divided into three sections, Beginnings, Middles, and Endings, this novel requires a slow and deliberate reading pace.  When family secrets are finally revealed, the characters' lives fit together in an unexpected manner. There is not much blood or gore, but the psychological intrigue carries the reader to a surprising ending.

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