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Extended Audio Sample The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel, by Diane Setterfield Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (122,039 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Diane Setterfield Narrator: Henshall , Lynn Redgrave, Ruthie Henshall Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Setterfield, a former professor of 20th-century French literature, is a deft stylist and talented technician. Both her love for literature and the depth of her learning enliven her debut novel.”

    Washington Post

  • “Beautifully written and highly intelligent. Blissful escapism for literate (and literary) females who love an old-fashioned story.”

    Times (London)

  • “Setterfield proves a mistress of the craft of storytelling and her musings about the pleasures of reading are beguiling.”


  • “Setterfield’s first novel is equally suited to a rainy afternoon on the couch or a summer day on the beach.”

    Library Journal

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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Diana Neves | 2/19/2014

    " I liked the genre--an English mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mary | 2/19/2014

    " 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. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Christy Huddleston | 2/2/2014

    " Drags on and on and on... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michellelynnhooper | 2/2/2014

    " Excellent! Lots of twists! "

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