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
"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)
The story within the story is superb, but the story itself is painfully tedious. The main character is nauseatingly self-obsessed and terminally boring… and the audio narrator doesn’t do her any favors. By the end of the book, I was completely fed up with both of them. The only reason I kept going was because the other “story” and audio narrator were so good. Overall, though, I’m not sure it was worth the pain.
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.
I came across this book because it was an Audie Award finalist and highly reviewed. While it wasn't bad, I didn't think it was that great either. I thought the narrator was fine, but I just didn't find the story as entertaining as I thought it would be when I read the synopsis ahead of time; this was a clever idea for a story whose execution is only so-so. It was a little slow in parts, but has enough suspense to keep you reading through to the end.
This was my first download from Audible years ago and I wasn't disappointed even though I am just now getting around to posting this review. This is a book lover's book and I was immediately entranced. The protagonist is a young British girl raised in an antiquarian bookshop with the likes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights as her primary companions. A mystery unfolds as Britain's leading "popular" author seeks to finally tell her story. There are a couple of dark sub-plots and one graphic scene that bothered me but was essential to the tale. The rest of it was the unfolding of a great mystery, perfect for a mid-winter read (think "the icy wind whistling across the moors") by the fire.
The narration of this is excellent; I was hooked and stayed up too late more than once listening. I enjoyed the story a great deal, too, although in retrospect there are things I could quibble about in it.
Curiously, I'm not sure I would have been as engrossed by the print version. Anyway, I strongly recommend the download if it sounds at all interesting to you.
This is one of those books that starts out a little slow and then pulls you in. The narration (by two narrators) was excellent. This is a book that I have recommended to my friends.
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.
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.
I like interior monologue just as much as the next person, but this was too much for me. I guess you have to be a fan Withering Heights, The Woman in White etc. The long pauses, stifled emotions and deep meaningful glances had me screaming in the car. The story is somewhat interesting but I would not recommend it. The narration was very good.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
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.
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