The Thirteenth Tale

A Novel

The Thirteenth Tale

Read by: Lynn Redgrave and Henshall
  • 1
When Margaret Lea opened the door to the past, what she confronted was her destiny.

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.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9780743563833 | 
  • September 2006
Add to Cart
List Price $17.95
In Stock: Available for immediate download

Video

Diane Setterfield: Thirteenth Tale

Set in Yorkshire, England, this richly atmospheric story-within-a-story will keep you guessing until the end.

Hear an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide

The Thirteenth Tale
By Diane Setterfield


Summary
Margaret Lea works in her father's antiquarian bookshop where her fascination for the biographies of the long-dead has led her to write them herself. She gets a letter from one of the most famous authors of the day, the mysterious Vida Winter, whose popularity as a writer has been in no way diminished by her reclusiveness. Until now, Vida has toyed with journalists who interview her, creating outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them invention. Now she is old and ailing, and at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to Margaret is a summons.
Somewhat anxiously, the equally reclusive Margaret travels to Yorkshire to meet her subject. Vida's strange, gothic tale features the Angelfield family; dark-hearted Charlie and his unbrotherly obsession with his sister, the fascinating, devious, and willful Isabelle, and Isabelle's daughters, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret is captivated by the power of Vida's storytelling, but she doesn't entirely trust Vida's account. She goes to check up on the family, visiting their old home and piecing together their story in her own way. What she discovers on her journey to the truth is for Margaret a chilling and transforming experience.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Much of the novel takes place in two
see more

Articles About This Book

More Books from this Author

Bellman & Black
The Princess and the Pea

About the Author

Diane Setterfield
Photo Credit:

Diane Setterfield

Diane Setterfield is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale, and a former academic, specializing in twentieth-century French literature, particularly the works of Andre Gide. She lives in Yorkshire, England.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US