This book had me at the cover. You can just smell the leather and old paper of the books pictured on the front. It begs to be opened and read and indeed it reads just as I had hoped it would. The story unfolds with rich tactile images of old bookshops and country estates, weird relationships and family secrets, and a regular reference to fortifying cups of strong sweet tea. Ha! I love that. Every time I had to put it down was only because my real life beckoned and then I would hurry back to get lost in its pages once again. The irony was that even though I love tidy endings this ending was so tidy as to be bow-tied with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Every loose end was accounted for all the way down to the house cat's final whereabouts. Phew. Okay! Enough already! The story could have ended satisfyingly about twenty-five pages before it actually did. But still, The Thirteenth Tale was a fabulous book. It was just what I was in the mood for and will be remembered as one of my favorites.
“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.” Pg 8
"The hours between eight in the evening and one or two in the morning have always been my magic hours. Against the blue candlewick beadspread the white pages of my open book, illuminated by a circle of lamplight, were the gateway to another world." pg 24.
"After cleanliness came order, and the house was the first to feel the changes. Our new governess did a very thorough tour. She went from bottom to top, tutting and frowning on every floor. There was not a single cupboard or alcove that escaped her attention; with pencil and notebook in hand she scrutinized every room, noting damp patches and rattling windows, testing doors and floorboards for squeaks, trying old keys in old locks, and labling them. She left doors locked behind her. Though it was only a first 'going over', a preparatory stage to the final restoration, nevertheless she made a change in every room she entered . . . ” Pg 156