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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 (5635 )
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4.5 (2440 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ginger Homewood, AL, USA 04-09-07
    Ginger Homewood, AL, USA 04-09-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    2
    Overall
    "Engaging Book"

    Beautifully written. Keeps the listener engaged and anxious for the next chapter. I would recommend this book to friends.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek Union, KY, United States 04-09-07
    Derek Union, KY, United States 04-09-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Awesome, awesome, awesome"

    This was a true page-turner (can you call an audio book that?) It was excellently written and skillfully narrated. Using 2 narrators was purely genius and it made this incredible tale come to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Hilt 04-04-07
    S. Hilt 04-04-07

    Freshwater

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    106
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Spellbinding"

    This is a memorable story, full of heart-wrenching love and tragedy, described with palpable emotion.
    Many twists and turns through the entire story. Wonderful narration by both Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner. I listened to this at night and found it kept me awake long past when I should have been asleep, and stayed in my thoughts throughout the days following. Will definitely look for more from Diane Setterfield.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristen bowling green, KY, USA 04-03-07
    Kristen bowling green, KY, USA 04-03-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "best book I've downloaded so far"

    The Thirteenth Tale is captivating. I couldn't turn it off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Bonaire, GA, USA 04-02-07
    Michael Bonaire, GA, USA 04-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Unimpressed"

    Sorry but I was disappointed in this book's ability to keep my interest; I stuck with it for over 2 hours and then simply stopped listening. It took far too long to make any sense; like I said, after 2 hours I still wasn't grasping the plot or storyline. I almost wrote audible to ask for a credit back. So bad I won't ever try another book from D. Satterfield.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer British Virgin Islands 04-01-07
    Amazon Customer British Virgin Islands 04-01-07 Listener Since 2006

    Nancy Terrell

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    43
    5
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    1
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    Overall
    "Nancy Terrell"

    I absolutely loved this book-from the beginning to the end. It is one of those rare reads that I have recommended to ALL of my friends. The book is well read and beautifully written. Please hurry, Diane, and write another - and put me on the waiting list!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Robertsville, MO, USA 04-01-07
    Jill Robertsville, MO, USA 04-01-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    "The Thirteenth Tale"

    Fantastic, loved the audiobook!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 03-29-07
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 03-29-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    115
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    337
    62
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    4
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    Overall
    "Great Mystery"

    Lots of mystery, and questions. All gets answered in the end with a true Jane Eyre type feeling. Loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Twin Bridges, MT, United States 03-29-07
    Debra Twin Bridges, MT, United States 03-29-07 Member Since 2013

    Mom, married, website designer, portfolio manager in self-imposed exile (yeah Greg Smith!!), former California native, Episcopalian.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
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    311
    36
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    0
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    "Excellent Tale and Narration"

    This is the best book I've listened to in over a year. The story is mesmerizing and the narration is superb.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle Cohn 03-25-07 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Fantastic!"

    I didn't know there was already a lot of hype about this book. I downloaded it simply because it sounded good. WOW, was it ever! I LOVED it! My dog got so many long walks while I listened to this because I couldn't turn it off! I loved the narration as well. It might just be me, but I love an English accent, and it drew me right in! I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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