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The Thirteenth Tale Audiobook

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: AudioFile magazine called Jill Tanner's performance in The Thirteenth Tale a tour de force...and I couldn't agree more. Both Tanner and Bianca Amato are absolutely marvelous in this haunting debut novel, their voices seamlessly weaving the best story-within-a-story plot that I've ever heard. Reminiscent of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, The Thirteenth Tale is a real thrill for fiction lovers. —Diana Dapito

Publisher's Summary

All children mythologize their birth... So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's beloved collection of stories, long famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale. The enigmatic Winter has always kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she summons a biographer to tell the truth about her extraordinary life: Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth remains an ever-present pain.

Disinterring the life she meant to bury for good, Vida mesmerizes Margaret with the power of her storytelling. Hers is a tale of gothic strangeness, featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, and a devastating fire. Struck by a curious parallel between their stories, Margaret demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them.

The Thirteenth Tale is a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter, and in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.

©2006 Diane Setterfield (P)2007 Simon & Schuster Audio

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Literary Fiction, 2007

"Bianca Amato is stunning as Margaret....[her] respect for the power of story and the written word is heard in every utterance. Jill Tanner accomplishes a tour de force as the enigmatic and mysterious Vida. In conversation her voice has the hesitancy and fragility of an elderly woman, but her voice takes on the strength and power of a master storyteller as she weaves her spellbinding life story." (AudioFile)
"Readers will be mesmerized by this story-within-a-story tinged with the eeriness of Rebecca and the willfulness of Jane Eyre. The author skillfully keeps the plot moving by unfurling a new twist in each chapter and leaves no strand untucked at the surprising and satisfying conclusion. A wholly original work told in the vein of all the best gothic classics. Lovers of books about book lovers will be enthralled." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (7175 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lori Lynne 10-01-09
    Lori Lynne 10-01-09 Member Since 2006

    lsd

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Wanting a new Diane Setterfield novel"

    It has been over a year since I'd read this book, but it remains in my memory as one of the most intriguing mysteries I've read. There is not another book that compares, but the themes are timeless...Cain and Abel...Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde, and believe it or not, V.C. Andrew's Flowers in the Attic, which this reviewer read in the seventh grade, shares the theme of the toxic family. Setterfeld's writing leaves me to wonder when will she give me another jewel?

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-01-10
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-01-10 Member Since 2016

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful story, characters, narrators..."

    It's all there. I read this after the Forgotten Garden. Hard to tell which one I liked best. Read the critic review Audie Award Finalist, Literary Fiction, 2007. It pretty well sums things up. Few narrators have drawn me into a story like these two narrators. This is story-telling at its very best.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-12-10
    07-12-10 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    "captivating well written and beautifully narrated"

    This is truly a beautifully written book. The author's descriptions are poetic and visually rich. It is the story of a storyteller, and as such it feels like you are sitting at the foot of a master weaver of tales as they are spinning one just for you.
    The narration was superb. With two actresses reading the parts and hitting the mark perfectly. I can't find any fault with my experience- other than the fact the I was so utterly transported that everyone and everything felt like an interference to the blissful experience of entering the world of this tale. Truly Enchanting.
    For those of you put off by the idea of a ghost tale- don't be. It isn't what you think.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Louisville, CO, USA 11-27-09
    Patti Louisville, CO, USA 11-27-09
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    "Wish I Could Write Like This"

    After a mildly interesting prologue, I was completely hooked by the tale that began to unfold. The plot detail and character development was marvelous, and the shared narration of the two main characters was luminous. I was completely captivated and spent hours unable to turn the book off when I should have been doing other things. The ending brought the story to a nice, plausible close. Part ghost story, part mystery, part study of dysfunctional family dynamics, I can't recommend this book highly enough.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Thom 09-10-09
    Ryan Thom 09-10-09 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Painfully slow for me"

    I'm a very patient listener, but I found this story to be painfully slow from start to finish. I finished it, but it took a fair amount of effort on my part to keep myself focused on the story as it progressed.

    I'm actually fairly confused as to why there are so many 'rave' reviews on this book and so many other reviews that seem to reflect my feelings that it was was very hard to enjoy. I guess I'll chalk it up to a person's individual taste. My recommendation is that if you are a reader that likes books with a fair amount of action involved with the main characters, then this novel may not be for you.

    31 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wanda S Sauerland Reno 01-14-09
    Wanda S Sauerland Reno 01-14-09 Member Since 2008

    Wanda the artist

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wild. Surprise. Good read."

    I didn't know what to expect. For me, this had a different take in storytelling. Do I like it, do I not like it? YEAH, I liked it, very much.

    What I liked most - at first - was that there were two narrators for the two different women. That helps a great deal and I enjoyed that! It made the story alive; glowing, from the beginning to the end.

    So, my judgment is that it was truly a VERY good book. It had me thirsting all along to hear both story lines, that are told simultaneously.

    How is this done, you might ask? Well, one older famous author (woman) finally fesses up to her - so called - true life history and hires a lady autobiographer to do this.

    Yet, at the same time the autobiographer has a story of her own to tell; not as fancy, not as sumptuous of a life story, but still very interesting.

    Did that last bit of review mix you up a bit? Well, it sounds funny, but not really. Just remember, this is a book of two women, each with their own story, and with their own narrator to speak for them. OK. I give up. Just read it, then you will see.

    Again, like George Eliot, there is a richness to the characters that makes one WANT to finish reading the book to the end. (Or, listening to the book). If you enjoy a nice long read, then this one is for you. I do. The longer the better.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy 10-29-08
    Tammy 10-29-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Couldn't stop listening!!"

    This has to be one of the best books I've listened to in a LONG time. I've been telling everyone I know to read it or listen to it. Wish she had more books out. The story had me spellbound. I listen on the way to work or on the treadmill. I walked many an extra mile to get this in!!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nisey NY 10-18-08
    Nisey NY 10-18-08 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "excellent and addictive"

    Great book. You might get put off a little by the first 30 minutes, but stick with it. The "story" within the story will grab you and have you wanting to listen non-stop. great narration too!!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise WINTON, CA, USA 08-25-08
    Louise WINTON, CA, USA 08-25-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Masterpiece"

    I first listened to The Thirteenth Tale last spring. Didn't think much of it till the end. Then I vowed to revisit and so glad I did. This novel is quiet and one must listen carefully.
    Storyline is brilliant and narrators excellent. This novel tells of the lives of twins and the unconditional love that is between them. As for development of characters I found it solid and I cared for each one
    I highly recommend this book. Thirteenth Tale will haunt me for a very long time.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janie 10-16-06
    Janie 10-16-06

    Papoter

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful"

    This is my first time writing a review, but couldn't resist. This book was absolutely wonderful -- the reading, the writing, the "world" that we visited through this magnificently written work. It was a dark tale, but the two converging stories were brilliantly intertwined and I absolutly loved both readers. I have already listened to it twice. I'm already waiting for more books from this author. To think, this was her first....WOW!!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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