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The Thirteenth Tale Hardcover – Sep 12 2006

55 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Bond Street Books; First Edition edition (Sept. 12 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743298025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385662840
  • ASIN: 038566284X
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #674,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Setterfield's debut novel translates into a great audio book that loses none of the suspense, surprise and satisfaction that come with a wonderful tale. The voices of two of the best dramatic talents working today turn Setterfield's story into a glorious treat for listeners. Henshall, who reads as Margaret Lea, and Redgrave, who plays recluse writer Vida Winter, create mood and tension with their voices, which settles listeners into the narrative with ease. Margaret, a young bookseller and amateur biographer, is chosen by Miss Winter as the recipient of the secret of her tragic past. She reveals, layer by layer, the mesmerizing tale of the Angelfield family that includes murder, insanity, feral twins, a ghost and a fire. Margaret's own past in some ways parallels Miss Winter's, leading them both through the blaze of memory into the truth. Audio fans will be dazzled; fans of the written word will find new depth to The Thirteenth Tale thanks to the rich work of two veteran readers.
Copyright© American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Margaret Lea, a bookish loner, is summoned to the home of Vida Winter, England's most popular novelist, and commanded to write her biography. Miss Winter has been falsifying her life story and her identity for more than 60 years. Facing imminent death and feeling an unexplainable connection to Margaret, Miss Winter begins to spin a haunting, suspenseful tale of an old English estate, a devastating fire, twin girls, a governess, and a ghost. As Margaret carefully records Vida's tale, she ponders her own family secrets. Her research takes her to the English moors to view a mansion's ruins and discover an unexpected ending to Vida's story. 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. Kaite Mediatore
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Morehouse on Aug. 11 2009
Format: Paperback
I really like reading debut novels. Especially if they're great books because there is a promise of more great books to come. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield is a great debut novel. I read it one weekend when I was home sick and I literally could not put the book down.

It's a story about families, mostly dysfunctional ones. It's a story about stories. It's about people trying to discover their story and how that story fits into their family's story.

The story opens in a bookshop where the main character, Margaret works with her father. She has received an invitation to write the biography of a reclusive well-loved author with a mysterious background; a story that others have always wanted to hear. Margaret accepts the invitation and sets out to find a tale that will also help her tell her own story.

One of the more intriguing themes that run through the book is the theme of twins and their twinness. Another theme is childhood cruelty; this is not always an easy book to read. But the twists and turns of the mystery keep the reader coming back to the book for a thoroughly satisfying ending. I hope Diane Setterfield is well on her way to publishing another book; I for one will buy it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kay on March 5 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best gothic tales I have read! It's characters draw you in right from the beginning. I am a twin also so I really felt connected to them.

I highly recommend this book, also after reading the book check out the amazing website:

I hope they make this book into a movie!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on April 24 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating and rich Gothic mystery about a young Englishwoman who is hired to write the biography of a famous, dying author. The author has always kept her past a secret from her millions of fans, and the biographer is about to find out why. The young woman moves into the old author's home in the remote English countryside, and spends the ensuing weeks compiling details of the author's bizarre and disturbing early years. As the dying author tells that one final tale, her biographer finds herself working through some of her own demons. Interestingly, the biographer's demons at times bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the ones she is writing about for her employer.

THE THIRTEENTH TALE is a modern-day story, but it is written in an old-fashioned, Gothic style that takes its time to reveal its many secrets. It includes all the elements of a classic Gothic novel: a crumbling haunted house, English moors, dense fog, and a young heroine who finds herself in a potentially dangerous situation. It is gripping, at times frightening, and always interesting. I was kept guessing about how the story would eventually be resolved, and was pleased by how skillfully the author pulled all of the pieces together.

My biggest complaint about THE THIRTEENTH TALE is that the main character felt somewhat one-dimensional. It is possible, however, that the characterization might have been intentional. The main character has been damaged by her own past, so maybe this was demonstrated by making her seem less-than-complete. In any case, that is a minor complaint for the book because many of the other characters are so well drawn.

This is an excellent book for readers who like a good, unusual mystery.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tanya on Nov. 27 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was amazing. A must read story that is full of suspence, twists and turns and an ending that was a true surprise. The author is a natural story teller and you just don't want to put the book down even though it is full or sadness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G.O. on Jan. 11 2007
Format: Hardcover
THE THIRTEENTH TALE is not your average book----what is nowadays? The book opens with a woman and her trouble with the truth. All her life she has been telling people false stories about who she is.

She is a famous author, Vida Winter, who everytime she gives an interview, she tells a made up story of who she is. So, many people read her novels, but they do not truly know the woman behind the story. She has reached a point in her life, though, where she feels she needs to tell people who she is.

She enlists the main character for that task. The chance for this young lady to finally reveal to the world the truth of who Vida Winter is. The Thirteenth Tale.

The young lady that Miss Winters gets to write her biography, Margaret Lee, has been living above her fathers' bookstore, where she helps him. She has written a few biographies, but more for her interest than any fame.

One of her relatively unknown biographies, though, attracts the attention of Miss Winters and the message behind the words encourages her to contact Miss Lee. Margaret is dealing with her own sense of loss and not knowing who she really is, so while she is skeptical at first, she eventually agrees to write Miss Winters story.

And, what a story it is. It is amazing how who she was before became this author that sits in front of Margaret now. She lead a hard life, and by the looks of all the pages she has written, managed to make something of herself. If anything, she is famous for her unfinished collection of short stories, a collection that has left the world wondering and which is the inspiration for this novel.
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