Summer Read: The Thirteenth Tale

Hi there, friends! Legacy summer camp is in full swing this week and we are all having SO much fun! I sure do love these kiddos and it’s a treat to spend a little time with them this summer.

Today I wanted to share a few thoughts about The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. It’s been around for a while (published in 2007) but this was my book club’s May pick, so it made the cut for summer reading!

I began this in early May, and was almost immediately a little discouraged. Looking back, I think it was a function of how busy things were at school, the density of the prose, and rather dark tone. It all felt a little too heavy for where I was in my reading life (and life in general!). I could barely get through a few pages when I read at bedtime and I found myself having to go back and skim the previous pages a bit to remind me where I was. That being said, I was attracted to the bookish subject matter — an old used bookstore, a well-read protagonist tasked with writing the biography of an eccentric best-selling author whose life story is shrouded in mystery, set on the moors and in the musty libraries of English manors.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Once I was able to find some uninterrupted (non-bedtime) blocks of reading time, I found myself intrigued. It strikes a good balance between characters and plot, exploring the themes of identity, loss, and reinvention, with lots of family drama. Setterfield uses well-placed literary references, and I became more engaged with each chapter. This one kept me guessing (and reading!) until the end and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending — not necessarily neat and tidy but hopeful.

I would not classify The Thirteenth Tale as a “beach read”. It is literary fiction, well-written and absorbing, but it is – as I mentioned – a little on the heavy side. This is the type of book I usually enjoy in the winter months — cozied up and engrossed. Do you do that, too? Have “summer reads” and “winter reads?” It was, however, good enough to force me out of that M.O. this time around. Glad I stuck with it. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this one, too!

And another thing…

One of my favorite watercolor artists, Inslee, has released some new works! I started following her years ago and own a few of her figurative “fashion” prints (see them in my former office HERE). Her art in recent years have become more adventurous, more abstract, a little less figural. And I love her still. Check out her latest HERE.

Have a great Wednesday!

xo Heidi

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