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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
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The Thirteenth Tale (2006)

by Diane Setterfield

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,192811242 (4)4 / 988
  1. 562
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (norabelle414, ladybug74, Contusions, Voracious_Reader)
    norabelle414: Both gothic novels, with a big ol' creepy house, and theme of hidden family secrets
    Voracious_Reader: Both beautiful, almost Gothic tales told through the eyes of precocious unusual young women.
  2. 501
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (ladybug74)
  3. 372
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (brightbel, coffee.is.yum, caflores)
  4. 243
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (391)
  5. 160
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (starfishian)
  6. 131
    The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (library_gal, Becchanalia)
    Becchanalia: Pretty much the same plot, secrets, family ties and tragedy set in the ancestral home.
  7. 154
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (rstaedter)
  8. 101
    The Lace Reader: A Novel by Brunonia Barry (avisannschild)
  9. 124
    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (sruszala, lahochstetler)
    lahochstetler: Gothic tales of devoted twin sisters, love, and death.
  10. 1811
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (starfishian, rmjp518, kethonna, elizabeth.a.coates)
    elizabeth.a.coates: Both centre around books/literature, both are eloquently written, both have an element of mystery
  11. 70
    Affinity by Sarah Waters (Citizenjoyce)
    Citizenjoyce: The ambiance is the same. Both stories draw the reader in with promises of deeper mysteries to solve.
  12. 93
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (julie_e_meyer)
  13. 50
    The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff (amyblue, kethonna)
  14. 50
    Florence and Giles by John Harding (shelfoflisa)
  15. 51
    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Becchanalia)
    Becchanalia: More creepy siblings and a misguided governess
  16. 30
    Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Isolated old ladies benefit by telling their stories to younger women.
  17. 63
    The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (lahni)
  18. 20
    The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh (ForeignCircus)
  19. 20
    Phantom by Susan Kay (Bookmarque)
  20. 20
    The Seance by John Harwood (extrajoker)

(see all 40 recommendations)

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English (772)  Spanish (7)  Italian (5)  French (4)  Swedish (4)  Norwegian (3)  German (3)  Finnish (3)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (807)
Showing 1-5 of 772 (next | show all)
I expected more. More interest, more excitement. Less navel-peering, less "woe is me." ( )
  sraelling | Sep 20, 2018 |
Just what I needed right now in my reading life. Nice, easy, spoon-fed, syrupy-sweet, fiction. This book has all the makings of what I term either "chick-lit" or a "beach read." Although my definitions of these two categories may be a bit more strict than you are used to; I've never read Nora Roberts or Jodi Picoult. This book is smart, witty, very well written but what makes it fall into the beach read cannon is it's extreme ease in storyline- details are laid bare, connections fully explained, lots of "hey, remember when I brought this up in chapter 2? Well, here it is again!" No challenge or mental exercises needed! And it was perfect. I flew through the pages, devouring the story, getting caught up in the incredible character development, and mysteriously dark tale.
Vida Winter, a reclusive author, ready to lay the dark, terrible tale of her life at the feet of Margaret Lea (a smart, young lady living with her father in an antique bookstore who carries painful secrets all her own); the unspooling of breaks open more secrets, rips off the scabs, and ultimately leaves both women with bloody palms up in full surrender. Ghosts, twins, incest, self-mutilation, arson, literature, snow, and lots more disturbing yet intriguing details pull the reader into its trance. This book would make an excellent book-club pick. Highly readable with tons of discussion points. ( )
  ambersnowpants | Aug 23, 2018 |
This book seemed written for book lovers, and as I am one I loved it. Our Heroine is an introverted book lover herself. I was able to relate her in so many ways. And sometimes I found myself jealous that she got so spend much time with books. Margaret Lea works in her father’s antiquarian bookshop, and her fascination for the biographies of the long-dead has led her to begin writing them herself. She one day Margaret gets a letter asking her to write the biography of the most famous authors of the day, the mysterious Vida Winters. Mrs. Winters is a recluse who also toys with journalists, every time she does an interview, she gives the journalist a different life story. Now she is old and ailing, and at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. 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. The story is captivating. Margaret doesn't fully trust Vida to tell her the truth, so she goes and does some fact checking and discovers the truth isn't always what it seems.
I loved this book, I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I loved the mystery, And I loved the truth. This was a book that I had to force myself to put down to sleep, and I spent my days wondering what was going to happen next. The twists and turns were engrossing, and I'm still not sure at the end if I got the full picture. This goes in my re-read list for sure. The writing was so smooth and doled out the mystery at a perfect speed. Both the images and writing were just dark enough, not horrific but a dark tell for sure. I could see the whole book characters, places, plot in my minds eye like a movie. I loved it!
For additional reviews please see my blog at www.adventuresofabibliophile.blogspot.com ( )
  Serinde24 | Aug 17, 2018 |
Compelling and unbelievable tale of feral twins and a third ghost girl telling her story on her deathbed. ( )
  siri51 | Aug 10, 2018 |
Reading The Woman in White a few weeks ago motivated me to reread this since I remembered that TWiW was heavily referenced in it. I’m glad it did because I’d forgotten how flawless The Thirteenth Tale was in evoking a 19th-century Gothic vibe. Even with knowing the revelation at the end I got completely caught up in this ‘story within a story’. To me, it’s still primarily a Jane Eyre derivative but I enjoyed the touches of Wuthering Heights and The Woman in White in it, along with the mentions of Arthur Conan Doyle I missed the first time through. ( )
  wandaly | Jul 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 772 (next | show all)
A family saga with Gothic overtones, dark secrets, lost twins, a tragic fire, a missing manuscript and over-obvious nods to Jane Eyre, Rebecca and The Woman in White, it reads like something a creative writing class might write as a committee, for the sole purpose of coming up with a novel that would suit a book group (and tellingly, there are "Reading Group Study Notes" at the back suggesting topics for discussion).
 
The Thirteenth Tale is not without fault. The gentle giant Aurelius is a stock character, and the ending is perhaps a little too concerned with tying up all loose ends. But it is a remarkable first novel, a book about the joy of books, a riveting multi-layered mystery that twists and turns, and weaves a quite magical spell for most of its length.
 
"The Thirteenth Tale" keeps us reading for its nimble cadences and atmospheric locales, as well as for its puzzles, the pieces of which, for the most part, fall into place just as we discover where the holes are. And yet, for all its successes -- and perhaps because of them -- on the whole the book feels unadventurous, content to rehash literary formulas rather than reimagine them.
 
A book that you wake in the middle of the night craving to get back to...Timeless, charming, a pure pleasure to read...The Thirteenth Tale is a book to savor a dozen times.
added by rainpebble | edit~The San Diego Union-Tribune
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Setterfield, Dianeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amato, BiancaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hammer, HegeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Järnebrand, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moksunen, SalmeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tanner, JillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
All children mythologize their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won't be the truth; it will be a story. And nothing is more telling than a story. -Vida Winter, Tales of Change and Desperation
Dedication
In memory

Ivy Dora and Fred Harold Morris

Corina Ethel and Ambrose Charles Setterfield
First words
It was November.
Quotations
Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes-characters even-caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you.
My gripe is not with lovers of the truth but with truth herself. What succor, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story? What good is truth, at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney? What you need are the plump comforts of a story. The soothing, rocking safety of a lie. - Vida Winter
Tell me the truth.
Of course I loved books more than people. Of course I valued Jane Eye over the anonymous stranger with his hand on the lever. Of course all of Shakespeare was worth more than a human life. Of course. Unlike Miss Winter, I had been ashamed to say so.
… ten years of marriage is usually enough to cure marital affection …
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
My gripe is not with lovers of the truth but with truth itself. What succor, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story? What good is truth, at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney? What you need are the plump comforts of a story. The soothing, rocking safety of a lie.

All children mythologize their birth...


So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself — all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that 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.

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When her health begins failing, the mysterious author Vida Winter decides to let Margaret Lea, a biographer, write the truth about her life, but Margaret needs to verify the facts since Vida has a history of telling outlandish tales.

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