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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
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The Thirteenth Tale (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Diane Setterfield

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,130757171 (4)4 / 965
Member:nmhale
Title:The Thirteenth Tale
Authors:Diane Setterfield
Info:Washington Square Press (2007), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Fiction

Work details

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

  1. 542
    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. 491
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (ladybug74)
  3. 372
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (brightbel, coffee.is.yum, caflores)
  4. 233
    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. 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.
  10. 114
    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (sruszala, lahochstetler)
    lahochstetler: Gothic tales of devoted twin sisters, love, and death.
  11. 93
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (julie_e_meyer)
  12. 50
    Florence and Giles by John Harding (shelfoflisa)
  13. 1611
    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
  14. 50
    The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff (amyblue, kethonna)
  15. 63
    The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (lahni)
  16. 41
    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Becchanalia)
    Becchanalia: More creepy siblings and a misguided governess
  17. 30
    Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Isolated old ladies benefit by telling their stories to younger women.
  18. 20
    The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh (ForeignCircus)
  19. 20
    A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore (fannyprice)
  20. 64
    The Woman in White Part One by Wilkie Collins (caflores)

(see all 39 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 719 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed Setterfield's style. Beautifully written with a story that captures you and holds on until it's revealing end. I will look forward to her next offering. ( )
  bpeters65 | Jul 16, 2016 |
My biggest complaint about this book is actually a complaint about myself: why couldn't I find the time to read it faster? This is the type of book I want to read in one or two sittings, not spread out over a few weeks.

The resulting story more than made up for the slow-ish first few chapters.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn't see the twist coming in this book. Two thumbs up, Ms. Setterfield. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
I really like to give this at least 6 stars, but I know we can't.
I find it creepy, but fascinating, hard to put down.
Margaret Lea really has a problem that I feel by the end she will work out.
Finished, and I really, really enjoyed it. Margaret Lea fixed her problems.
I have the Kindle version, but it still was a page turner. ( )
  winterslights | Jun 12, 2016 |
I started reading this in the car on the way to my Grandma's house for one last visit before leaving for Germany. I got one chapter in, was completely hooked, and set it down reluctantly. This book demands and deserves the reader's complete and undivided attention, which I gave to it in the silence of my room when I got back home.

The prose is stunning, the story intriguing, and I just spent my entire day devouring it. I got it from the library, but I'm seriously considering buying it, because I loved it that much. ( )
  shulera1 | Jun 7, 2016 |
I loved this. Right from the beginning I wanted to know more. How did the fire start? Who was Aurelius's mother and why was he abandoned? How did Margaret's twin die? Who was Adeline and Emmeline's father? Was it Charlie or Robin? Who killed John The Dig and what happened to Hester?

By the end of the book most of these questions are answered although you do get a few more. Instead of there only being Adeline and Emmeline in the house there was a third child who looked exactly like them and while we know that one of the three died in the fire you never know exactly who. Although the way it is written it appears that it was either Adeline oe Emmeline and not the third child who has no name. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 719 (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, DianeAuthorprimary 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 …
Last words
(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.

(summary from another edition)

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