The Thirteenth Tale

  • by Diane Setterfield
  • Narrated by Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner
  • 15 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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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

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Simply Amazing Story--2 missing chapters

This story is absolutely amazing. It is captivating and enthralling. However, the unabridged Audible copy of this story is missing two chapters near the end of the second file (as the story is so long that it requires two files). As it is, KEY story ending information is left out. Audible has been informed of this problem and I assume it will be corrected at some time.

Ultimately this is not a story to be missed. However, if you are looking for an unabridged copy of the book, this is not currently it.
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- J. Elliott

Once you finish it, you'll listen again!

I have never been a fan of gothic novels...and after listening to this for about 15 minutes, I wondered why I had gone against my intial instincts, and purchased this book . If I had actually been reading this,(instead of listening) at this point it would have been tossed! What a tragedy that would have been! For I would have missed the chance to be transported into Vida Winter's world. Like Margaret, for me the story took over, and I found my self unable to stop listening. Margaret herself grabbed hold of me, for I, too, understood her love of stories. When I finished it, I knew I had to hear it again, because now that I knew the story, I wanted to listen to the words and visualize the beautiful imagery that Ms. Setterfield created.(and besides I wasn't quite ready to let these characters go...)
Barnes and Noble has created the word, "unputdownable" for this new book club they have created. I heartily concur! This particular delicacy is meant to be savored. Enjoy...
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- Cathleen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-11-2006
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio