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The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel | [Diane Setterfield]

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

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.
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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

4.2 (5336 )
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4.4 (2167 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathy Goldsboro, NC, USA 02-27-07
    Kathy Goldsboro, NC, USA 02-27-07 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    153
    15
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "nailbiting plot, beautiful writing"

    I listened to this book twice- it was even better the second time. Beautifully crafted descriptions, nail-biting plots, good narration (yes, I disagree with some of the other reviewers!). I picked up some things I missed the first time. A book to buy in hardback, as well. Should be a classic literary book. don't know how she will write a better one, but I hope she keeps writing! One of my favorites. I listened while shopping, driving, and finally gave up trying to do any work that required concentration when I was near the end- I chose work that would allow me to finish listening to the book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Ocean City, NJ, USA 02-20-07
    Helen Ocean City, NJ, USA 02-20-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Easy Listening"

    Wonderful story keeps you guessing. Beautifully narrated, with voices that compliment each other.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sew Disappointed 02-15-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    203
    6
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    1
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    Overall
    "Delicious"

    This book was delicious! The narrators' voices were perfect for the story and both did an excellent job conveying the emotion and pace of the story. The book as a whole was gripping and hard to put down. I even did more laundry than I had to so I could continue listening to the story. I would especially recommend this book if you enjoy British Literature, such as Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne H NYC 02-15-07
    Suzanne H NYC 02-15-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
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    194
    21
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    Overall
    "Outstanding!"

    I have been a memeber of audible.com for a few years now and I have listened to many audiobooks from the library. This is one of my favorite audiobooks. I absolutely loved it. Both readers were amazing. I was so drawn into the story, I hated when I had to stop for a while and could not wait to return to it. Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela Centerville, OH, United States 02-08-07
    Angela Centerville, OH, United States 02-08-07 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    120
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    REVIEWS
    244
    22
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    FOLLOWING
    7
    1
    Overall
    "And the Oscar goes to . . ."

    This was a great read, I was addicted to the audiobook and had to drive around the neighborhood a few times because I couldn't let the story go.

    However, one of the main reasons that audiobook is outstanding are the two narrators. If there were Academy Awards for audiobooks, this would certainly win for Best Listen and Best Narrator. The pace, the accents, the story, all combined to make this a perfect read.

    I even liked the somewhat slow start because it set the mood. I don't like gothic tales but loved this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joy Fair Lawn, NJ, United States 02-07-07
    Joy Fair Lawn, NJ, United States 02-07-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    97
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    "Good listen to get lost in!"

    At first, I felt it was a bit difficult to get into the story because of the accents that the narrators have. I couldn't tell which one was talking at times.

    But after getting used to it, things flowed so easily! I listened to this at the gym and got so lost in the story at times. I found myself not wanting to finish and couldn't wait to get back into it. The story is very suspenseful and exciting while still being very insightful and deep. The character development is amazing and I fell in love with every single one. I'd definitely recommend this audiobook and might even listen to it again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Austin, TX, USA 01-25-07
    Heather Austin, TX, USA 01-25-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    15
    12
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    "Very good book"

    I had to start this book over the first time I listened. The reader came across as a little grating at first. Snooty sounding maybe? I don't know, something about it just could not keep my attention. After about 45 min, I gave up. The next day I listened without distractions. This time I was sucked right in! As it turns out, the book is wonderful. Full of depth, interesting characters and subplots. I am glad I gave it a second chance. I would highly recommend this book. Sit back, and settle in for a good ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan L. Stewart Commerce, TX 01-25-07
    Susan L. Stewart Commerce, TX 01-25-07 Member Since 2015

    House of Books

    HELPFUL VOTES
    48
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    49
    14
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    Overall
    "Superb Listen"

    I'm going to listen to this again. Setterfield has extraordinary story-telling skills and the narrators bring the novel to life. Didn't want it to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Rice, VA, United States 01-19-07
    Joan Rice, VA, United States 01-19-07 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    22
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    "Awesome!"

    This is a fabulous book. I found myself thinking about the characters when not listening to the story. This book held my interest till the very end and will become one of my "top 10 favorites". Hope to see this on screen someday!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alicia gallatin, TN, USA 01-09-07
    Alicia gallatin, TN, USA 01-09-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    4
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    Wonderful! What more can you say about this book? It has made me want to go and re-read the classics mentioned in the story. Mystery, romance, suspense....as well as a ghost story. Simply fabulous!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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