Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Back with The Thirteenth Tale!

What a crazy holiday weekend. I actually had to go back to work to get some rest. Thursday Chuck and I hosted a big holiday to-do for our family and some of our friends. The food was plentiful, the house was clean (just in the nick of time), and we had a nice time. I fell into a turkey coma immediately afterward and woke up in time for our brood to head off to my mom's house on Friday for another feast. Mom's feast was heavily attended, delicious, and a lot of fun too.

I thought that would be the end of it. I expected a relaxing Saturday and Sunday, but much to my surprise we were back on the run. Chuck needed to do a large journal assignment for his art history class (early art history), and there happened to be an Egyptian exhibit in LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS. Yes, you read that correctly. We hopped out of bed at 6am on Saturday and hit the road to Little Rock. We tooled around the museum, took copious notes for his project, and then we drove all the way home. I'm panting just thinking about it.

Finally, on Sunday, we loaded up the kids, checked out Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas (a potential wedding site), went to the Dallas Museum of Art to finish up his project, and got home in time for me to grade papers and go to bed.

In short, no rest was had for this pregnant goose. I did, however, have the afternoon off after a doc appointment yesterday. Woohoo! I got to finish up Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, but I'll get to that in just a minute. The family is currently biting our collective nails waiting for next Monday's ultrasound appointment. We'll finally be finding out if the Lil Bug is a boy or a girl.

But enough about holiday craziness. On to the books!

I think I could very well be the VERY LAST PERSON in the book blogosphere to read this book, and now I can't figure out why I waited so darn long. I've had it on my shelves for well over a year now after I found a clearance copy at Half-Price books for a whopping $3.00. I plunked it down on my RIP IV challenge pile, but I never got around to it.

I complained here recently that I've had a very ho-hum reading year so far. While there have been good books in the bunch, generally I haven't felt as fulfilled or wowed by my reading as I usually do. It was a desperate attempt to love a book that brought me to The Thirteenth Tale, and WHOA, did it deliver!

I won't waste your time with a blurb because I genuinely feel like almost everybody already knows what this book is about. If you don't, just read it blindly--you won't be sorry. I adored it for so many reasons, I hardly know where to start. I feel a bulleted listed coming on:
  • The characters were vivid and evolved nicely! Margaret Lee was mousy and unassuming at the beginning of the novel, but she grew to be a really interesting, multi-faceted character.
  • I loved to dislike Vida Winter. She was a perfectly written lovable/hateable character. I found her amusing, infuriating, and enigmatic throughout the book.
  • It was atmospheric! And I'm a real sucker for atmosphere. Any book that can make me feel as if I've been deposited on the moors is a winner.
  • Twisted! Need I say more?? I almost got whiplash from this story.
  • It's a novel for book lovers. All of Margaret's thoughts on reading in the early part of the book were delicious. I don't think I've written down that many quotable passages in years. And all of the references to Jane Eyre, The Woman in White, Wuthering Heights were excellent, too.

Gush much? Yep, and I don't even care. I LOVED IT! Heather, thank you for prodding me to read this one constantly. ;)

In the spirit of yummy gothic books perfectly suited for winter, I checked out The Woman in White from my library. Now I can't wait to figure out what all the hooplah is about! Bring it on, Wilkie!

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