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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 (5049 )
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4.2 (1927 )
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4.4 (1914 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    D. WARD Midlothian, Virginia United States 09-29-09
    D. WARD Midlothian, Virginia United States 09-29-09 Member Since 2009

    Diana bookworm

    HELPFUL VOTES
    109
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    236
    70
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    13
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a soft mystey"

    Its a good book but the listening got a bit long and drawn out at the end.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Hansen Albany, OR 09-05-09
    C. Hansen Albany, OR 09-05-09 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Didn't want it to end"

    I thoroughly enjoyed the story. The narrators were splendid and really brought the story to life.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Arlington, VA, United States 08-23-09
    Laura Arlington, VA, United States 08-23-09 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    318
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Engaging, gothic tale"

    Diane Setterfield's writing is phenomenal and the readers did the prose justice. I might just buy the book to highlight some of the most moving passages about books and reading I've ever seen (or heard). I lost myself in the story and I could not stop listening.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Visalia, CA, USA 01-28-09
    Barbara Visalia, CA, USA 01-28-09 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    "Compelling"

    This book was one I had in my ipod for over a month and wasn't too excited to start it. However, once I started I was hooked. I will definately look for more books by this author.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul HARRISBURG, PA, United States 01-18-09
    Paul HARRISBURG, PA, United States 01-18-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    238
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Absolutely wonderful"

    This audiobook was great. The narration was perfect and added so much to the tone of the tale. The story was haunting -- it was hard to stop listening yet I didn't want it to end. Highly recommended.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alicia Wheaton, IL, USA 12-07-08
    Alicia Wheaton, IL, USA 12-07-08 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "For Language Lovers"

    The write is quite a word smith. The narration was well done and the story brilliantly crafted. Throughly enjoyed it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Pinehurst, NC, United States 12-01-08
    Karen Pinehurst, NC, United States 12-01-08 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Mesmerizing"

    What a wonderful tale that unfolded from the two excellent and distinctive narrators. It was storytelling at its very best.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne L. San Diego 05-23-08
    Anne L. San Diego 05-23-08 Member Since 2006

    seabird photographer

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    3
    Overall
    "The Thirteenth Tale"

    A fascinating book, with exceptionally well drawn characters. I loved this book!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth P. Hill bangor, Me 01-31-08
    Elizabeth P. Hill bangor, Me 01-31-08 Member Since 2007

    yonderlizahill

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    66
    1
    Overall
    "The Thirteenth Tale"

    The carefully descriptive language allows the reader to be immersed in the imagery of scene and psyche. Although the theme of the loss of a twin is not strong enough to hold up the plot, the characters and settings are. I enjoyed listening to this up to the very end.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Callahan 01-27-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
    Overall
    "Great story, great reader"

    The reader was fabulous and the story was intriguing. I was trying to find places to drive just to finish it. However, about half way through the novel and particularly towards the end, I got tired of the main character and a secondary character whining. Though still one of my more favorite audible books, I can only give it four stars.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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