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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, and 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. All rights reserved (P)2006 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved
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Critic Reviews



Winner of Audio Publishers Association 2007 Audie Award, Literary Fiction
"Setterfield...offers graceful storytelling that has its own pleasures." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By pam on 03-17-12

Gorgeous prose with suspence

Would you consider the audio edition of The Thirteenth Tale to be better than the print version?

Yes. The delivery was lush and riveting.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The narrator was completely believable. I would follow her anywhere.

Which scene was your favorite?

The descriptions were so beautifully written and the metaphors, creative. I could not possibly choose one scene.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. It's one to savor.

Any additional comments?

God bless Lynn Redgrave.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Brittney D. Meyers on 04-19-16

I wanted to love this book...

So I bought this book because it was recommended to me under books like Historian. Which this book is sort through of like Historian in the smallest of ways.... it is kind of like The Historian. Old haunted houses, the old scientific debate on the connection of twins, having to prove 3 scientific facts with old new papers and the help of a historian.... But it falls very short of The Historian. now some of the book had genius ideas on life itself. Some of the phrases and ideas thought of by this old woman really where interesting. The characters were ok... the plot was ok... was it cliff hanging or a book I couldn't but down... no. The awesome narrorators from Audioble did very well. the voices matched the story and gave it some heft that would have been missed without it... I wanted sometimes to love this book... but I liked it so I guess that's well enough.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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