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Extended Audio Sample The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel Audiobook, by Diane Setterfield Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.02926829268293 out of 54.02926829268293 out of 54.02926829268293 out of 54.02926829268293 out of 54.02926829268293 out of 5 4.03 (41 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Diane Setterfield Narrator: Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2006 ISBN: 9780743564182
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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.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Setterfield, who lives in Yorkshire, offers graceful storytelling that has its own pleasures.” 

    Publishers Weekly 

  • The Thirteenth Tale is finally and convincingly told.” 

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “A wholly original work told in the vein of all the best gothic classics. Lovers of books about book lovers will be enthralled.” 

    Booklist 

  • “Setterfield’s old-fashioned storytelling and love for literature that makes the novel stand out.” 

    Bookmarks magazine 

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2007 Dilys Award Finalist
  • Winner of the 2007 Audie Award
  • Winner of the 2007 YALSA Alex Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Ryall-korekiyo | 2/19/2014

    " My favourite book. The characters are so richly written and the story is compelling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anissa | 2/9/2014

    " I'd been wanting to read this for a while & I expected to really love it. I liked it. I loved how descriptive it was in places. Most specifically the retelling of events at Angelfield. Feral children, a ghost, a couple domestics & two mad adults all knocking about in a dilapidated house, had me from the start. Unfortunately the equal time given to Margaret & her rumination on events broke the continuity for me. And I honestly grew tired of Margaret's "twin sightings" in reflective surfaces. After a while I thought she was soppy & melodramatic and a bit less interesting. Where I began wanting to know about the ill that ailed the Lea family in detail, I no longer cared. I think the twin theme was a bit heavy handed but am open to believing that it was lost on me as I am an only. I worked out the connections early enough & the ending for Vida Winter was no surprise but I didn't find that an impediment to overall enjoyment. I'd recommend this for a weekend read for setting alone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 2/6/2014

    " This novel was and remains amazing. Ms.Setterfield's intricately woven descriptions and characters truly come to life. This book changed reading for me. I was always a fan, but then it became an addiction. Thank you! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Kish | 1/31/2014

    " It seemed to have the potential to be an interesting story but I did not like the writing and I did not like the main character. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jesica | 1/26/2014

    " Loved this book, I had to re-read it and enjoyed it just as much the second time! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah - Exploring All Genres | 1/24/2014

    " Really enjoyed this. Review to come. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maddy | 1/22/2014

    " This is possibly one of the best books I have ever read. The author combines mystery, intrigue and a closet full of skeletons to deliver one whopper of a read. Best of all its achingly well written so you should ideally read it slowly though the plot demands a faster pace. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa Boyd | 1/9/2014

    " This novel is absolutely unique and is possibly the most layered work of fiction I've ever read. Not so much twists and turns as completely unexpected sucker punches. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryeah | 12/18/2013

    " True gothic horror. A really enjoyable book, if you're in the mood for spooky and sad. Never ever read if you've been parent to twins and lost one, however. This book loves to play heavily on the myth of the attachment of twins, and twin loss. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leanna Stroyick foster | 12/13/2013

    " Not my typical choice of book. It was a book club book that I was very happy to be turned on to!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Polly | 11/20/2013

    " One of my favorites! I couldn't put it down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maryann Johnson | 11/1/2013

    " moves slowly good ending "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 8/10/2013

    " I loved that book even though I bought it on a whim back then. It is really good and captured me throughout the pages! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexandria Rivera | 3/30/2013

    " The thirteenth tale was a great book.I liked it alot.It was a magical and mysterious tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 N. | 3/28/2013

    " I thought this was a fun mystery with several shocking revelations. It was an easy read, and quite engaging. The descriptions are vivid and truly engaged all my senses. However, I didn't find myself dying to figure out Vida's secrets. To boot, the ending seemed to fall flat for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 12/23/2012

    " Any book that can keep me on the treadmill for my entire lunch hour is a winner! The story just sucked me in, the moors, the ruins, the books, the secrets,the storytellers....a little suspense, sadness, romance, and the promise of a happy ending for some of the characters. Including Shadow the cat. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobby Jo | 11/18/2012

    " The overall story line was good but the book moved too slowly for me. The ending made up for it. I didn't see that coming. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda Caldwell | 10/14/2012

    " Wow... oh my goodness. I just finished this book and it's absolutely haunting and beautiful and so atmospheric. The author did an amazing job. I would love to see this as a movie if it could be insured that it wouldn't get screwed up. Just awesome and breathtaking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 10/3/2012

    " A great book for people who really like to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Saschaller | 7/5/2012

    " Very clever story - light hearted, fast read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bjwaite | 5/7/2012

    " Loved this book, it has a cool twist at the end that I didn't see coming "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Felicia | 4/24/2012

    " I am pretty sure that this is a 5 star book. If not, maybe 4.5. I liked that although it was suspenseful, it didn't fill me with anxiety. Great story teller, somewhat old fashioned, I really enjoyed reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meghan Mulvey | 3/7/2012

    " To date still one of my faves, a wonderful book!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Terpsichore | 10/29/2011

    " Heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 8/23/2011

    " Very enjoyable mystery. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jen | 8/7/2011

    " Ok. So I never finished the book. I got a bit too disturbed about the boy being in love with his sister, and carving her name into his leg. What? Too creeped out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 6/5/2011

    " I couldn't put it down! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 5/24/2011

    " Read this for book club during the month of October. Good "scary" halloween story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 5/23/2011

    " If I could have I would have given this a 4.5. I really liked it. Might have helped that I read it on a weekend away, so was able to get "swept up" in the story. Good read :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 5/23/2011

    " Interesting how the author takes you back through her father's love of antique books and then she finds herself in a rescue of an unusual amount of antique books that leads her to a story of death, betrayal and mystery. Different than anything I have read before. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristy | 5/22/2011

    " I read this awhile ago and I remember enjoying it but couldn't tell you what it was about. So ... good at the time, but not memorable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 5/21/2011

    " This book is amazing! I'm a sucker for musty used book stores so I was immediatly sucked in! This book was brilliant with twists around every turn. It makes the perfect gift for all types of people. Definatly worth not only reading, but buying for you permanenet collection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Claudeen | 5/18/2011

    " A wonderful read on a rainy day, hmm, with a cup of tea and a fire. Full of twists and turns, it's a fantasy with the lure of Jane Eyre - a love story of a different kind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 5/17/2011

    " 4.5 stars. Wonderful. If you like the description of this book, you will not be disappointed. Reminiscent of 19th century Brit Lit! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/17/2011

    " If you like Jane Eyre or The Turn of the Screw, give this one a shot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joleen | 5/16/2011

    " Page turner, all the way to the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 5/15/2011

    " Read this basically straight through on a flight today and really enjoyed it. Very interesting premise and fun to try to put all of the pieces together. I think i'd give it 4.5 stars if goodreads offered it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanne | 5/15/2011

    " I'm not normally a fan of gothic novels, but...couldn't turn the pages fast enough! A very English, compelling story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carmenlawson | 5/14/2011

    " Loved it. Suprising, and very well written! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosary | 5/14/2011

    " Great fun to read! Lovely Gothic tale in an old fashioned sense--sort of Jane Eyre meets Rebecca. "

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About the Author
Author Diane Setterfield

Diane Setterfield is a former academic, specializing in twentieth-century French literature. She lives in Yorkshire, England.

About the Narrators

Bianca Amato is an actress and narrator born and raised in South Africa. Trained at the University of Cape Town’s Drama school, she went on to work in theater and television in South Africa before moving to New York in 2002. She is the winner of five AudioFile Earphones Awards and Audie Awards.

Jill Tanner was a principal actress with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival for eight years and has appeared in many classical and new American plays. She has been in productions on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in most major theaters in the United States.