Before I Blogged I Read: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

There’s a lot of books I read before I started this blog in June of 2010 and I figured it might be fun to spotlight those! They won’t be an actual review because OMG YOU GUYS THAT WAS SO LONG AGO but I’ll just note a few things about it, if I enjoyed it and what my Goodreads rating was. So thus “Before I Blogged I Read…” was born. Because you know…I’m so original with my names for things.


The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

(Amazon | Goodreads )
Rating: I gave it 3.5 stars on Goodreads

1. It’s an adult book — general fiction, I guess you would say, but definitely leans towards a mystery. The main character receives a letter from a very famous author in England. She’s a secretive recluse who always tells tall tales to journalists who want to write about her and she’s asked the main character, who owns a book store and writes amateur biographies,  to write her biography. She agrees to, after being intrigued by one of her novels she has at her shop, and spends her days with the eccentric author and learns some very dark things of her past. Very twisty and turny!

2. I remember really enjoying it and, though it started slow, the suspense started to build and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and I had so many different ideas in my head for how it was going to end but TOTALLY not what I thought. I also recall it being rather dark!

3. It has a very Gothic feel to it and was very atmospheric in that way.  Definitely recommend for fans of Bronte and Austen!

4. Definitely one of those books about people who love books as the main character is a bibliophile.

I definitely am now in the mood to re-read it because I can’t remember specific details and it’s killing me! haha

Have any of you read this one? Did you like it/not like it? Can you recommend any other really great Gothic feeling literature that I might also like? Let me know if you like this new series or not!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. LOVED this book. It was my first book that I would even closely consider Gothic, and I only bought it because it was on sale, but seriously loved it. I really enjoyed all the book references. This was actually the book that made me want to read Jane Eyre!

  2. Hi Jamie,
    The Thirteenth Tale is one of my favorite books! So glad you enjoyed it!
    Beth 🙂

  3. I haven’t read this but I think “Before I Blogged” is a brilliant idea! Mind if I use that title? (Of course I’ll link back to your blog!)

  4. I love books that mention other books. They just give me more fodder to add to my to be read list. Thanks for turning me onto this one!

  5. I haven’t read this one yet, but it is part of my 2013 TBR Challenge list. I am looking forward to it and have heard wonderful things about it!

  6. I read this forever ago. Or I tried to read it forever ago I should say. I could never finish it and I keep meaning, too. Sadly there are just so many books that keep getting added to my TBR pile. 🙁

  7. I have this on my to-read list because I saw how many people gave this a good rating on Goodreads! I’d never heard of it before, but I want to give it a go because I like that the MC is a book-lover!

    And no, AFAIK the characters in the Girlfriend Fiction series never cross over, they’re all separate books! Thanks for asking, I thought I’d mentioned it but it must have been in my vlogs, not the review 😉

  8. Great idea! I haven’t read this one yet. One day…

  9. I read this book last year–loved it! I remember being so shocked by the end. I didn’t expect it to turn out like that.

  10. I read this book in 2010 as well before I started my blog, and I loved it! I remember that it was a little spooky, and twisty, and that I couldn’t put it down. Definitely worth a re-read.

  11. Yes! This was one of those random pulled-off-the-shelf reads that I knew nothing about going in, but ended up loving it. So good!

  12. I wanna say I read this in 2009 not too long after it came out. I do know I was only 16 at the time and was unconcerned with the fact it said adult fiction until all the dark twists started happening. I then realized I was a little young for it. I did enjoy it overall and want to read it again some time soon.;

  13. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Oh what a great idea! There are lots of books I read before blogging, but have mentioned little (if at all) on the blog now. I highly support giving those older titles love, too. Sometimes blogging gets caught up in the new, shiny things.

  14. I read this before I started blogging too! All I really remember is that Gothic feel and that I enjoyed it though, haha.

  15. Great concept! I wanted to focus on some of the books I read before blogging too, so I started a “Flashback Friday” feature. I’ve had The Thirteenth Tale on my wishlist for a long time, and I know a bunch of people who’ve loved it. Thanks for the reminder — I really need to read this book!

  16. I read this one in 2009 and loved it. It was one of the first books I ever reviewed and i just did a mini review since everyone was reviewing it. One of the best-written books i have read,

  17. I actually didn’t finish this one! I felt like it got a little weird and I just didn’t like the way it was turning.
    You should have joined in on my Sunday feature, The Deja Vu Review!
    I started it last year to review books from before I started blogging because there were SO many, but hardly anyone participates because no one knows about it! 😛

  18. Oh man. Now I’m sad. I owned this one and after a few years where I hadn’t read it, I gave it away. I’ll have to see if my library has it, because I remember it sounded REALLY good.

    Gothic-type books. HMM. Okay, have you read anything by Barbara Michaels? The first one I ever read by her was HOUSES OF STONE. It is SO good. VERY Gothic-y. A lot of her books are, but that one is my favorite. Good mysteries. Some are a bit…out there, but they are fun reads. I loved HOS because the main character was a linguist, I believe.

    ALSO. I used to love V.C. Andrews back in the day. I would NOT recommend the new stuff – it’s just crap buuuut some of the old stuff SHE actually wrote before she passed, like Flowers in the Attic, My Sweet Audrina, etc was good, guilty pleasure fun. The feminist part of me now probably couldn’t reread them, but. haha.

    Also, this is much more fantasy than Gothic but there’s a deliciously dark, spooky “secretive” feel to Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels trilogy. The original three are just fantastic, in my opinion. I guess you would call them high fantasy, but they’re some of the swoon-iest books I’ve ever read.

  19. I loved this book! As soon as we finished, a friend and I agreed we both wanted to read it again, to sort out all the clues after knowing the full story. I still haven’t gotten around to that reread, but maybe this year!

  20. I’ve actually read this one before too, though it was WAY back when, and so long ago that I can no longer remember the details of this book. I’m thinking it’s time for me to crack this one open again when I go home to the Philippines and have access to my copy!

  21. I read this one long ago also, but reading these “memory’ reviews always make me want to read them again! But I can’t always do that — if only all these authors would quit writing for a while so I could catch up!! Thanks for the memories.

  22. Oh I’ve wanted to read this one for such a long time! (because it has a pretty cover) I love that it has a Jamie approval! Maybe I’ll get to it sooner. LOVE this idea, Jamie. Keep these coming. Seriously. DO ITTT.

  23. Oh my gosh LOVE this book! I’ve never known anybody else to have read it! I was totally pulle in by this story and loved all the fantastic twists of the plot. I especially loved the twisted fairy tale at the end 🙂

    And Before I Blogged I read Destroy Me and knew I had to start writing down my feelings 🙂 great post!

  24. Awww, this is such a good idea, though I probably wouldn’t be able to say even that much because OMG my memory.

    I reread this one a couple years ago and was a bit surprised at how much I didn’t remember. I don’t think I loved it quite as much as the first time, though the prose is still glorious. The paranormal-ish twist at the end does not make me happy, though.

  25. I remember reading this book!!! It was before I blogged too. I gave it 3 stars on goodreads, how very similar! 🙂

  26. I haven’t read this, but if you’re looking for adult gothic, Open Me but Sunshine O’Donnel is really good. It’s about a woman and her daughter who are professional mourners. Yup. Very few people know about it, which is super sad.

  27. Thank you for putting this up! I wanted to read this a looong time ago…but forgot…and now I’m reminded of it again, thanks to you! As for other Gothic-y books out there, I would recommend The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. Not sure about Morton’s other books (i.e. The Secret Keeper) as I haven’t read them yet, but they’re DEFINITELY on my Must-Read-ASAP pile!

  28. I loved this one, great reminder!

  29. I’ve had this one on my wishlist for the longest while, the synopsis was so intriguing and I’ve read/heard many convincing reviews as to why I should read this book. It sounds like a great book to curl up in bed and get completely lost it. 🙂

  30. I like this feature. I’ve had The Thirteenth Tale on my TBR forever, particularly because of it being a group read for TNBBC. I can actually see my copy from my chair.

  31. I loved this book a lot. I read it before I started blogging too. I bought it on a whim having no idea whether it was good or not. This was before Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I didn’t read any reviews and I ended up loving it. I clear my shelves and get rid of books from time to time, but I have always kept this one. I can’t bear to part with it because it truly is a favorite. I change my ratings on some books as the time passes and my views change, but this is one book that has maintained its 5 star reading all along. I love it.

  32. I got this for Christmas a few years ago, but I still haven’t read it. I’m so glad you posted this because a) it reminded me that I still haven’t read it and b) I’m even more motivated to read it now that I know you enjoyed it. Love this feature lady!

  33. I really enjoyed this book, I remember it being hard to put down. And I just love the cover! It’s been awhile though so I don’t remember much of the details either except that I enjoyed it! I highly recommend the Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, she writes gothic historical mystery fiction too and it’s one of my favorite books!