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Reader’s Den

The Reader's Den


Looking for a New Year's resolution? Why not join a book discussion group? Don't have time to make it to your local library's book club? Then join The New York Public Library's online book group, the Reader's Den!

Please join us beginning January 2009 to read and discuss titles selected by The New York Public Library's very own librarians. Each month a title will be posted, as well as reviews, summaries, discussion questions, and much more! As a participant, you will be able to post your reviews and comments at any time during the discussion. The best part about the Reader's Den is that you can join the group at your convenience! If you miss a discussion, you can always read about it in the archives section of the blog channel.

January's book selection is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. We hope you will join us in the Reader's Den! Happy reading!


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Reader's Den

Great idea! Where do we sign up? And when does it start? Brigid

Hi Brigid!! There's no need

Hi Brigid!! There's no need to sign up, comments and reviews can be posted as comments on The Reader's Den blog. The online book discussion starts this month so be sure to pick up a copy of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield! Happy New Year! Kerri


Jolly Good show! I love books and this book in particular sounds interesting :)


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will be able to join us in the discussion! ~Kerri

This sounds like a great

This sounds like a great idea! Thanks for setting this up.


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will get a chance to read the book.

The Thirteenth Tale

Diane Setterfield's first book was an easy, interesting read. I love stories that have strong conclusions, and this gothic mystery was well paced and surprising. The authors (both Diane Setterfield and Vita Winter) did a superb job of hiding the clues in plain sight. That said, I found Margaret Lea's circumscribed life and obsession with her dead twin hard to bear. The character of Margaret was too colorless, uninteresting and depressing. I felt that her circumstances were contrived to offset the vividly colorful Angelfield twins and I found it hard to believe in her - even though I easily suspended disbelief in the convoluted Angelfield drama! The author has been quoted in interviews as saying that the character of Vita came immediately, and it took her longer to find Margaret's voice. For me, Margaret remains a colorless ghost.

The Thirteenth Tale

Hi Chris! I fully agree with you. I was more interested and focused in Vida Winter's storytelling then I was in the character of Margaret. She was too plain and like you said a little colorless. There were times when I was holding my breath and on the edge of my seat as Vida narrated, and then relaxed when the roles switched and Margaret became the narrator again. Do you think the novel would have been stronger if Margaret wasn't in the story?

Miss Winter's Biographer

Hi Kerri! What a great question! I think Vida needs a biographer to listen closely to her life story, to investigate the Angelfield ruin and to meet Aurelius. The biographer needs to be seriously distracted with something outside Vida's story in order to misinterpret clues. I don't think the biographer needs to be a cipher. Wasn't Hester wonderfully alive and resonant after only a couple of chapters? I think that the novel would have been stronger if the biographer had been more interesting.


Hi Chris! Hester was definitely one of my favorite characters in the novel. I think it was her character more than Margaret that reminded me of the classic tales like Jane Eyre. I think Margaret's story might have made things a little too complicated. I was so focused on Vida's storytelling that when Margaret reflected on her life, I just didn't really care. I was interested, but not as much as I was interested in Vida's.

Is there a date that we can

Is there a date that we can post about the book so that there are no spoilers?

What a great question!

The heart of the discussion really begins the third week of the month. While you can add comments and reviews at any time during the discussion, it might be best to wait till the third or fourth week to avoid any spoilers. If you noticed, the third post for January includes <a href="" title="discussion questions">discussion questions</a>, so that would be a great time for everyone to really get the discussion rolling! Thanks for visiting The Reader's Den, Ellen!

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