This is the kind of book that I should use quotes to make my point, but I read a print edition, and I am just far too lazy to go back and get my copy and find the quotes that I've marked.
I really don't know what I was expecting when I picked up this novel. I chose it because of the stunning cover and a recommendation from a friend (Obsidian Blue). I love bookish books, and this one filled that niche quite well, with Margaret's bookshop job and her obsession with English lit, most especially Jane Eyre. There is a rich vein of Jane Eyre mined throughout this book. Fortuitously, I had just reread Jane Eyre, so my appreciation for the way in which the author used Bronte's classic was at a peak.
Having said that, this is no light tale for a summers eve. The Thirteenth Tale is made for a fall or winter night, wrapped in a blanket, preferably in front of a roaring fire. I read it on a grey early autumn day, which was an acceptable choice, if not quite perfect. This is a dark story, with weird and gothic elements, centered around an otherworldly home and one of the most troubling and troubled families dreamed up in an author's imagination, peopled by characters whose behavior frankly ignores important social mores and verges deep into taboo. It is not explicit by any stretch of the imagination, but this is not a book for the faint of heart.
But, then again, neither were Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, or The Woman in White if it comes to that. If you are a fan of Victorian gothic, classic literature and richly dark writing, I think you'll like this book. If you like your stories sunny and sweet, you'll probably want to run away from this book.
There are a few squares where I could've fit this book, including ghost stories and haunted houses. But, there is also a black cat with emerald green eyes - Shadow - who makes several crucial appearances throughout the book. So, I'm claiming it for "black cat"!