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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 (5538 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rochelle Cohn 03-25-07 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    5
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    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
  •  
    Betania Carlsbad, CA, United States 03-23-07
    Betania Carlsbad, CA, United States 03-23-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    78
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "wonderful novel for book-lovers"

    I loved this book, both the plot and the characters, and the narration is absolutely lovely. A wonderful novel for book-lovers, it is mesmerizing and I truly felt I knew the characters and cared about them. This is a great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Beck Chester, MA 03-22-07
    Paula Beck Chester, MA 03-22-07 Member Since 2010

    baybay2

    HELPFUL VOTES
    296
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    118
    80
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    FOLLOWING
    6
    3
    Overall
    "Nice Enough"

    I enjoyed this book, but not to the level I would expect based on all the hoop-la about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zhaoqing Palo Alto, CA, USA 03-10-07
    Zhaoqing Palo Alto, CA, USA 03-10-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    "suprisingly refreshing"

    What I mean to say by my title, is that I was not expecting the content of this book to be what it was given the summary plot and that it was published last year. I won't delve into it anymore for it will ruin the beauty of it. However, after you've finished it you'll understand :) Anyhow, it reminded me of classical english novels, which I absolutely adore, thus explaining my love for this book. I just can't say enough. loved loved loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina north las vegas, NV, USA 03-08-07
    Christina north las vegas, NV, USA 03-08-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    7
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    "worth listening to"

    pretty interesting and original, wordy and a little obscure, but entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia fairview, PA, USA 03-08-07
    Patricia fairview, PA, USA 03-08-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    "Phenomenal book"

    The language and characters flow and interweave like a fine belgian tapestry. Like one of the characters favorite books, Jane Eyre , it is a rich, dark, gothic tale that never bores! I couldn't put it down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria Joppa, MD, USA 03-07-07
    Victoria Joppa, MD, USA 03-07-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    4
    4
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    "Wonderful Work"

    It started off slowly, but boy when it got going, I was lost in it. What a great storyteller Ms. Satterfield is. I enjoyed her characters and was caught up with the story within the story. I would like to read what else this author has done as her development of the characters was fantastic and her style is great. I look forward to more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Pensacola, FL, USA 03-07-07
    Barbara Pensacola, FL, USA 03-07-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "The Thirteenth Tale"

    I loved this novel and the narration was wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle 03-05-07
    Michelle 03-05-07 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    93
    22
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    Overall
    "Enthralling"

    After the first 30 minutes I was so engrossed in this story I had a hard time turning it off!
    The intro was a little slow for me, and sometimes I found Margret's character annoying, but once Miss Winter starts telling her story I was sucked in!
    I've read a lot of stories in my time, and I'm telling you the twist totally shocked me, but fit perfectly.
    This is one book that is totally worth the time!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison Huntington Beach, CA, USA 03-03-07
    Allison Huntington Beach, CA, USA 03-03-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    34
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    "One of the best"

    Wow. I really loved this book. It has an excellent plot and awesome character development, not to mention the best narrators that could have been picked. I couldn't stop listening to it. If you love Dickens, the Bronte sisters, or Jane Austen, you'll love this book.

    I am definitely recommending this book to my friends and family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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