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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves more than 5 stars!
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: Thethirteenthtale.com

I hope they make this book into a movie!!!
Published on March 5 2007 by Kay

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars beautiful written gothic novel
I wanted to like this book more than I did - because there is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing. Diane Setterfield was able to create a beautiful narrative and was able to "set the scene" as they say. However, I found that the plot started to lag in the middle, and I found that at times it simply didn't advance the story at all. However - I will say this...
Published 7 months ago by Lynne Frappier


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves more than 5 stars!, March 5 2007
By 
Kay (B.C. Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thirteenth Tale (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: Thethirteenthtale.com

I hope they make this book into a movie!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kelly's review, Jan. 11 2007
This review is from: The Thirteenth Tale (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing, Nov. 27 2009
By 
Tanya (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thirteenth Tale (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mystery that will keep you guessing til the end, Aug. 11 2009
By 
S. Morehouse (Langley, BC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Thirteenth Tale (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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books of the year!, Oct. 17 2006
By 
Kelly (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Thirteenth Tale (Hardcover)
I was hooked on this book from the moment it came in the mail. The cover alone is enought to capture someone's attention. Then, you open to the first page and you are at the books mercy until the very last page. I had heard good things about this book, and I am glad I did, because I might have read it in the future, but I would have waited for the paperback, so it would have been sometime before I had the chance to read it. The praise for it, though, meant that I got to read it sooner rather than later.

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.

The truth, as Margaret Lee finds out, is not always what you expect. This is a mystery story, a mystery about who this woman really is. I wonder if people figure it out, I had an idea about what she was hiding, but I didn't really know for sure until the end of the novel. And even for having an idea, it did not take away from the ending at all. I just found myself sad at the end of the book, because it was over. I would never get to read this book for the first time again, but I will read it again. I want to know what new things you discover everytime, but I also just plain want to visit with Margaret and Vida again.

It is a very gothic novel, very dark, but just amazing. I have been telling people for a few weeks now to read this book. I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant debut, Oct. 6 2006
By 
Mark Wakely (Lombard, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thirteenth Tale (Hardcover)
When a first novel is immediately (and enthusiastically) compared to the works of such literary luminaries as the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, a large dose of skepticism is in order. I read this book with a jaundiced eye, expecting to eventually uncover at least one unconvincing character, a plot twist that failed to surprise, or a passage less than vivid, unworthy of the masters.

I did not.

Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale carries the reader along like a turbulent river, with unexpected eddies and undertows you can't escape. The characters are absolutely true to the worlds of Dickens and Austen, but they're originals, not derivatives. They grieve and you do, they rejoice and you do, they die and you do- almost. The whole atmosphere of the book is powerful and sweeping, in the manner of Henry James or even Joseph Conrad. (Well, minus all those ships, of course.) If I had to pick one story that gave the same overall effect as Setterfield's book, I'd pick The Turn of the Screw, since the ghost element in Setterfield's book is equally shocking and unique, although James's classic novella lacks the grand span and scope of The Thirteenth Tale. Then again, Setterfield's characters could just as easily find a home in Dickens' dangerous London squalor or in the halls of a Bronte mansion, the air thick with secrets and heavy with troubled specters anxious to make themselves known.

Intriguing, daring and even downright heart pounding at times, The Thirteenth Tale might well give you nightmares at the end, but they'll be the best- and most original- nightmares you've ever had.

-Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very satisfying winter read, Dec 29 2009
By 
Andrea (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thirteenth Tale (Paperback)
When the weather turns dark and cold, The Thirteenth Tale is the perfect novel to curl up on a couch with, in front of a warm fire and a hot cup of tea. It is also a great book about a book lover, for book lovers.

Best-selling author Vida Winter has spent her life spinning stories, but the one story she has never told is her own. Consumed by illness in her old age, she decides it's finally time to tell the truth and she enlists part-time biographer Margaret Lea to record it all. What unfolds is an engaging, suspenseful, sometimes creepy, and surprisingly unpredictable tale. I was filled with questions as I read, and Setterfield does a masterful job of keeping readers guessing until the end. The story is tied up a little TOO neatly but all in all, The Thirteenth Tale is a very satisfying read.

I'll note also that this was a book club read, and all of the other members enjoyed the book as well.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mystery, well written, Feb. 24 2008
This review is from: The Thirteenth Tale (Paperback)
I picked up this book after reading many of the 5 star reviews online here at Amazon. When I see such a well reviewed book, I always feel like I'm disappointed when I read them and they never live up to the hype. Well this book is the exception. The reviews are bang-on and I loved this book. Great mystery, characters, setting, well written and surprising to the very end. I really enjoyed the writing style and the author has a great way of pacing the story. Looking forward to her next book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My goodness I love the wonderful world that Dianne Setterfield, Sept. 18 2014
My goodness I love the wonderful world that Dianne Setterfield has created in this story rich with wonderfully flawed characters, a writing style that was so beautiful and captivating just absolutely wonderful. When I finished reading this book last night I just hugged the book because I already missed reading about the characters.

I love the line that, "Everybody has a story. It's like families. You might not know who they are, might have lost them, but they exist all the same. You might drift apart or you might turn your back on them, but you can't say you haven't got them. Same goes for stories."

And let me tell you this story has heart, it has everything that you could want. Read this book you will not be disappointed I know that I wasn't.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Tale of Insanity, Deceit, and Horrific Neglect, March 4 2007
By 
Debra Purdy Kong (British Columbia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Thirteenth Tale (Hardcover)
Only a highly skilled author can write a compelling tale about a reclusive family whose world is small and not overly exciting. Yet Diane Setterfield does exactly this in The Thirteenth Tale.

The story centers around the deep emotional and physical bond of identical twins, Adeline and Emmeline Angelfield. This is a story of insanity, death, and the risk that telling the truth about the past imposes on others. It's also about how those proverbial little apples never fall far from their trees.

The novel opens when biographer and bibliophile, Margaret Lea, is hired to write the biography of world-famous fiction author Vida Winter, a woman who's nearing the end of her long life. For Margaret, who's only written the biographies of dead people, the challenge is intriguing and daunting because the famous Ms. Winter is notorious for never telling the same story twice about her life. In fact, she's told nineteen different versions about her past over a two-year period alone. The question becomes, what really happened in Vida's childhood, and is she telling Margaret the truth now or another fanciful story?

The more Margaret learns, the more sympathetic she becomes to the cantankerous Vida. For Vida was a twin. Margaret was also a twin who lost her sister at birth, a loss she's never come to terms with. The Thirteenth Tale is mystifying, heartbreaking, and so beautifully written that you won't forget this story any time soon.
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The Thirteenth Tale
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Hardcover - Sept. 12 2006)
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