For most of the month of May, I was reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. To be perfectly honest, I started reading it because I was bored before class and saw it on display at my school library. I figured it would probably be good for me to read one of the books that won an Alex Award for this year.
It really surprised me when, one hour later, I was only 40 pages into the book. The writing style reminded me a lot of Wuthering Heights and (when I was further on) Jane Eyre. I wasn't at all surprised to learn that the auther has studied 19th century works. The "feel" of the writing for me was similar to that of classics I have read, which tend to make me read slower and take longer to get interesting. The first forty pages primarily describe the narrator's love of reading and the antiquarian book store her father owns. The plot starts out slow, getting going about one hundred pages in, and moving faster from there on.
Mainly because of the writing style and the fact that the plot takes a long time to really get moving, I question whether this was the best choice as an adult book that would capture a teen's interest. Personally, I enjoyed the story very much, but I wonder how many teens would? The narrator, after all, seems late-twenties to early thirties (my apologies if Margaret's age is told and I've forgotten), and she's writing the biography of a woman in her eighties. I read the last eighty or so pages in a day because of the gripping plot, but I spent three weeks before that getting to that spot. I don't think I would have stuck with it when I was in high school. I probably wouldn't have stuck with it even now if it hadn't been summer vacation. I would love to find a teen who has read the book (or tried) and get his/her opinion.
Setterfield, Diane. The Thirteenth Tale. New York: Atria Books, 2006.
Personal Opinion: brilliant; would definitely re-read.
Recommendation: for adults or (maybe) older teens who enjoy reading and don't mind a slow starter