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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 (5087 )
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4.4 (1949 )
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Performance
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  •  
    K. Jacob 10-24-06
    K. Jacob 10-24-06 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    6
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    Overall
    "What power and beauty in words"

    A beautifully written novel demonstrating what I perceive as the grace of the written(spoken) word on an inviting mind. A very relaxing read. I cannot recommend it more highly and look forward to a prolific career for Ms. Setterfield.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Dallas, TX, USA 10-23-06
    James Dallas, TX, USA 10-23-06 Member Since 2010
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    23
    1
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    1
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    Overall
    "Rare Book"

    It is rare to find a book that grabs your attention from the very beginning, keeps it all the way through, and ends with twists that are supported by the story. I have recommended this book and bought a copy for my sister.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 12-14-11
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 12-14-11 Member Since 2010

    Audio-addict!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1476
    ratings
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    445
    206
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    741
    57
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Intriguing Classic"

    Find a comfortable place, sit back and listen to this fascinating, mysterious tale. A novel about the way our stories of our lives can be manipulated, and eventually haunting. It tells a story about facing the truth and the pain that secrets can cause, even to those we live.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela Eloy, AZ, United States 12-13-08
    Angela Eloy, AZ, United States 12-13-08 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    87
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    20
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    Overall
    "Not My cup of Tea"

    This is the first time I wished I would have gotten the bridged version. I was really torn about writting a review for this book, some of it was pure art, the authors writting is vividly poetic, and then there are times when it is overdone. My biggest disapointment was the end..it went on and on..and on.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 05-06-12
    Susan 05-06-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Got bored..."
    Would you try another book from Diane Setterfield and/or Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner ?


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't finish the book, so additional comments are moot. The required 15 words are too many.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marilynolsen OAKHURST, CA, United States 11-04-08
    marilynolsen OAKHURST, CA, United States 11-04-08 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    78
    ratings
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    54
    22
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    4
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    Overall
    "the thirteenth tale"

    I had a hard time getting into this book. It is certainly unusual. The characters are not the norm or normal. I found it kind of depressing at times.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Carlsbad, CA, USA 11-16-07
    Julie Carlsbad, CA, USA 11-16-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    15
    7
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    0
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    Overall
    "The mystery lasts and lasts."

    I still don't really know who was who in this story but it is well written and nice to listen to. As in any mystery, some things that were revealed were not such mysteries at all but others, like I said, still don't know how that all worked. Very enjoyable though and I may just listen again to try to figure out what I obviously missed.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Bronx, NY, United States 08-22-07
    Jennifer Bronx, NY, United States 08-22-07 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pretentious and Bad"

    I could only get past the first 3 chapters. Chapter one - contemplate letter found and the hand writing on it. Chapter 2 read letter and contemplate it. Chapter 3 loved books as a child. The writer knows how to turn flowery, eloquent verses but the problem is they are empty in content. Writer more interested in turning a phrase then conveying any real information or telling a story. God AWEFUL book.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Machesney park, IL, USA 02-25-07
    Keith Machesney park, IL, USA 02-25-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    4
    2
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    Overall
    "Slow,Boring"

    I dont know how this got such a high rating, it was a slow paced overly descript tale that left me wondering if I missed something. Mono toned english narrative that will either put you to sleep (slow story) or irratate you (wasted money on this). If I had it to do over again, I wouldnt.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise K. Trainor New York 07-27-13
    Denise K. Trainor New York 07-27-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    Story
    "A surprise!"
    Any additional comments?

    I purchased this book on a whim. I am glad I did! A wonderful story in every sense of the word. The narrator was wonderful and the story kept me in suspense until the end. An excellent listen!!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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