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The Thirteenth Tale Audiobook

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

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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

4.3 (7845 )
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4.5 (4491 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Helen W. Karl 10-10-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I stayed up far too late"

    listening to the rich prose and compelling narrative in this outstanding debut novel. The author must be a voluminous reader. She and her characters share those delights with us. Her use of similes is particularly deft.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Moyer Sinking Spring, Pa USA 10-02-06
    T. Moyer Sinking Spring, Pa USA 10-02-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Everybody has a story"

    This book is pure and beautiful storytelling. The characters are interesting, mysterious and appealing. The book reveals itself at a measured pace that irresistably draws you deeper and deeper into the storyline. It is a pleasure to read from beginning to end.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dielle 04-24-13
    Dielle 04-24-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "so glad I took audible's recommendation"

    I don't think I've ever done this before, but I just finished listening to this and immediately started over back at the beginning. I'm just not ready to leave yet. And I want to go back and hear the things I missed when I wasn't paying close attention the first time. I wish I were a better writer so I could express how much this book resonated to me. My words feel clumsy and inept in comparison. The love of reading, the texture and depth of the story, the atmosphere. I hate to gush but it was wonderful. The book is a homage to Jane Eyre, The Lady in White, Middlemarch, etc. so many of the classics that I've loved over the years. After I finish listening for the second time, I believe I'll re-visit some of my favorites again too. The audio performances were excellent as well, adding to the enjoyment of the story. Bravo! Standing ovation! And thanks Audible for the recommendation.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juanita Rome,, GA, USA 06-30-10
    Juanita Rome,, GA, USA 06-30-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprising and Entertaining"

    This is a wonderful read! Amato and Tanner are in their elements narrating this tale! It's extremely entertaining with twists and turns and you actually DO NOT expect the eventual conclusion! I will be looking for more of Ms. Setterfield's work!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shana Forest Hills, NY, USA 06-05-10
    Shana Forest Hills, NY, USA 06-05-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WORTHY OF 10 STARS!!!"

    I loved this book. Diane Setterfield is a master storyteller and her talent is matched by narrators Amato and Tanner.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catnip San Francisco 05-21-10
    Catnip San Francisco 05-21-10 Listener Since 2009

    Purrs by the Bay

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant first novel!"

    This was such an entertaining and well written novel. The narration was just perfect and I'm a very big fan of audio books. This is one that I'd like to sit and read again, not just listen to....

    It's a wonderful mystery and leaves you wondering and pondering right up until the very last line. This is a novel that will appeal to many different people. I can't imagine not enjoying every minute of it. Enjoy!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina 04-25-10
    Christina 04-25-10

    Tech gal

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Combination mind-numbing and truly great"

    I can't figure out how the first hour of material of this novel got past an editor. It was tortuously slow, and I quit listening after four different attempts over several months. The first narrator may have contributed to this, with her very slow speech. Finally, stuck in a car for many hours, I gave it another try. After more than an hour, this story became mesmerizing. The first part could have been well-written as a short first chapter, and the book would have kept all its integrity, and more people would have kept reading it instead of giving up. If readers are so bored they can't continue - it seems like a serious flaw in a novel, no matter what the author or editor thought they were 'setting up'. First hour plus is a '1' and the after that is even more than a '5'.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bebe South Carolina 04-17-10
    bebe South Carolina 04-17-10 Member Since 2009

    I love books - all kinds of books. My genre is "good book"

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story"

    I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. It reminds me of Jane Eyre and Rebecca in its atmosphere and tone. I loved those two books and I now love Thirteenth Tale as well. The author has written a great story within a story, both connected, that grips you and keeps you guessing until (and even past?) the end. The author is very creative and knows how to keep your attention. I was particularly impressed with the way she described a disease eating away at one of the characters as a hungry wolf that was held at bay, temporarily, by pain killing drugs. You could almost see the wolf. The reader of the book does a superb job in all respects. She makes the characters and the stories come alve. I think you will be very pleased with this book and this production.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Lynne 10-01-09
    Lori Lynne 10-01-09 Member Since 2006

    lsd

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wanting a new Diane Setterfield novel"

    It has been over a year since I'd read this book, but it remains in my memory as one of the most intriguing mysteries I've read. There is not another book that compares, but the themes are timeless...Cain and Abel...Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde, and believe it or not, V.C. Andrew's Flowers in the Attic, which this reviewer read in the seventh grade, shares the theme of the toxic family. Setterfeld's writing leaves me to wonder when will she give me another jewel?

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha 05-25-13
    Martha 05-25-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Book That Never Ends"

    I really wanted to like this book and I know I'm going to get a lot of "unhelpful" votes for this review. Please know that it isn't all bad. The story did have some good points. Ms. Setterfield writes wonderfully descriptive passages and her style is lovely in places, but she uses a lot of odd similes ("the words flew out of my mouth like a bird hitting a window"). Huh???
    The first half of the book was good. I was very interested in the story and engaged with the characters (however unlikeable they were), but sometime after the break between sections, I stopped caring about what was happening. The book became tedious. I got fed up when I had to listen to a portion of the twins' story re-told through Hester's diary entries. No doubt they contained important information that the author wanted to convey, but by that time I'd had enough. Where was the editor?! I was constantly checking to see how much time was left, which is never a good sign.

    A number of reviewers have referred to "the twist" and how they thought it was excellent. Well, I was disappointed in it. I thought, "is this _really_ where she's going with the story?" Since I hate spoilers, I'll say no more about that. I will say though that there's only so much self-pity that a reader can tolerate. I'd be interested in hearing a real-life twin's opinion. Not being a twin myself, perhaps I can't relate, but Margaret seems overly attached to (no pun intended), and longing to be reunited with, a twin sister she's never even met. Obsessed is probably a better word because she sees and hears her sister everywhere. Strange.

    A word about the narrators: I can't figure out why there was a need for two. I understand what the director was trying to accomplish, but the book isn't written in a way that's conducive to using two different voices. There are too many places in the narrative where the characters' stories overlap and the narrator who is portraying Vida ends up reading a passage written from Margaret's point of view, and vice versa. It could be confusing if the listener isn't rapt (which admittedly, I was not). Also, I have listened to several books narrated by one of these ladies and, once again, she does a fine job here; however, I had forgotten the promise I made to myself that I would never listen to another audiobook narrated by the other reader. She is not native to England and the way she pronounces certain words is irritating, like nails on a chalkboard, to me. I mean no disrespect. It's just a pet peeve that I wish I could get over.

    I'm sorry to be so critical. If you loved this book, I'm happy you found enjoyment where I could not. If you did not like it, I encourage you to write a review and tell us why not. Books, like any art-form, are subjective. What one person finds merit in, another thinks is rubbish. Such is life.

    18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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