The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield Paperback Book

Details

Rent The Thirteenth Tale

Author: Diane Setterfield

Format: Quality Paperback, Unabridged-CD, Abridged-CD

Publisher: Washington Square Press

Published: Oct 2007

Genre: Fiction - Historical - General

Retail Price: $17.00

Pages: 432

Synopsis

Settle down to enjoy a rousing good ghost story with Diane Setterfield's debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale. Setterfield has rejuvenated the genre with this closely plotted, clever foray into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths. She never cheats by pulling a rabbit out of a hat; this atmospheric story hangs together perfectly.

There are two heroines here: Vida Winter, a famous author, whose life story is coming to an end, and Margaret Lea, a young, unworldly, bookish girl who is a bookseller in her father's shop. Vida has been confounding her biographers and fans for years by giving everybody a different version of her life, each time swearing it's the truth. Because of a biography that Margaret has written about brothers, Vida chooses Margaret to tell her story, all of it, for the first time. At their initial meeting, the conversation begins:

'You have given nineteen different versions of your life story to journalists in the last two years alone.' She [Vida] shrugged. 'IIt's my profession. I'm a storyteller.' 'I am a biographer, I work with facts.'

The game is afoot and Margaret must spend some time sorting out whether or not Vida is actually ready to tell the whole truth. There is more here of Margaret discovering than of Vida cooperating wholeheartedly, but that is part of Vida's plan.

Margaret has a story of her own: she was one of conjoined twins and her sister died so that Margaret could live. She feels an otherworldly aura sometimes or a yearning for a part of her that is forever missing. Vida's story involves two wild girls--feral twins (is she one of them?)--who would have been better off being suckled by wolves. Instead, their mother and uncle, involved in things too unsavory to contemplate, combine to neglect them woefully. There's also a governess, a Doctor, a kindly housekeeper, a gardener, and another presence--a very strange presence--which Margaret perceives as a ghost at first. Making obeisance to other great ghost stories, there is a deadly fire, a beautiful old house gone to ruin, and always that presence....

The transformative power of truth informs the lives of both women by story's end, and The Thirteenth Tale is finally and convincingly told. --Valerie Ryan

View descriptions at Amazon.com

Recommended

A Reliable Wife
by Robert Goolrick

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered...

The Other Queen
by Philippa Gregory

This dazzling novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents a new and unique view of one of history's most intriguing,...

Hotel on the Corner of...
by Jamie Ford

Sentimental, heartfelt... the exploration of Henry's changing relationship with his family and with Keiko will keep most readers turning pages...A...

The Boleyn Inheritance
by Philippa Gregory

ANNE OF CLEVES: She runs from her tiny country, her hateful mother, and her abusive brother to a court ruled by the terror of a vengeful king who...

Sarah's Key
by Tatiana De Rosnay

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she...

Mistress of the Art of...
by Ariana Franklin

The national bestselling hit hailed by the New York Times as a 'vibrant medieval mystery...[it] outdoes the competition.' In medieval Cambridge,...

Year of Wonders
by Geraldine Brooks

Young Anna Frith, a vicar's maid, is faced with the loss of her family, the disintegration of her local community, and a passionate, illicit love as...

Reviews

BookLender review by Danielle on 2007-08-28 12:55:45

This story starts out somewhat slowly....but if you can hang on till it gets interesting it's hard to stop listening. Setterfield paints some beautiful and terrible pictures for her reader/listener, and I enjoyed the twist at the end.

BookLender review by Book Lover on 2010-08-10 13:32:07

I agree with the others a very slow start and I almost returned it but I stayed with it and was I glad I did. because it definitely picks up and then you can't put it down. Just a fantastic read from an author who loves words and uses language and imagery so skillfully. Stay with it and you won't be sorry.

BookLender review by Amanda on 2009-11-29 19:45:15

I had trouble getting started on this book because the beginning is slow, but once I got past the first few chapters I couldn't stop . . . this was a really good book, very well written and able to hold my attention. The twist at the end is also very good.

BookLender review by Tanisha on 2008-09-02 13:51:39

The story of Vida Winters reminded me of the earlier books by VC Andrews that I couldn't help but be drawn into this story. The ending was a surprise that wrapped up nicely.

BookLender review by Carol on 2010-05-20 18:39:50

Don't bother unless you're into sadism.