Discussion Question #10
How do you feel that The Thirteenth Tale compares to One Book One Lincoln finalists of past years? Was it your favorite of the finalists? If not, which one were you rooting for, and why?
(This is the last of the ten Discussion Questions from our official Resource Guide — but stay tuned for additional discussion topics to be posted in this Blog as One Book One Lincoln continues…)
Discussion Question #9
The classic Gothic novel was clearly an inspiration for Diane Setterfield when she wrote The Thirteenth Tale. Are you a fan of “Gothic” novels, and if so, which ones have you read and enjoyed? How does the author adapt some of the traditional Gothic conventions, such as haunted houses, family secrets and mistaken identity as catalysts for her own storytelling?
Discussion Question #8
The Thirteenth Tale is a novel constructed of plots within plots, stories intersecting and containing other storie. Margaret’s story frames Miss Winter’s. Miss Winter’s story is itself constructed of two threads: the story of her past, which she is telling Margaret, and her present. Still other stories are drawn in around the edges: the story of Hester’s relationship with Angelfield’s doctor; Mrs. Love’s tale; even a brief biography of Ambrose, Aurelius’s father. Did you find that the structure of the book enhanced its telling, or was it a distraction?
Discussion Question #7
Like the book whose secrets are hinted at by its cover, houses reveal much about their owners. This is especially true in The Thirteenth Tale, where houses are virtual reflections of their inhabitants. Margaret’s room above her father’s bookshop, Angelfield, and Miss Winter’s Yorkshire home all reveal much about the people who live in them, as does Aurelius’s cozy cottage. What did you think about the meaning of houses and other structures in The Thirteenth Tale? What do the characters’ surroundings say about them and their role in the novel?
Discussion Question #6
The Thirteenth Tale is, at its core, a novel about secrets and the ways that the characters are shaped by secrets, their own and the secrets of those around them. Vida Winter is “as famous for her secrets as for her stories” (p. 11), and Margaret is forever scarred by her discovery, at the age of ten, that her mother has kept a secret. What role do secrets play in the story, and which ones did you find most surprising?