The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfieldfive-stars

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
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Published by Washington Square Press on October 9, 2007
Genres: Gothic, Historical Fiction
Pages: 406

Heat Rating: one-flame

Audiobook Narrator: Jill Tanner
Audiobook Length: 15 hours and 38 minutes

Source: Build Your Library
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Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny.

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long.

Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness—featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

My top read of 2018!

I received this book with a few others in a subscription box months ago and finally got around to reading it. I wish I had snapped it straight up to read! It was fantastic! My teen daughter (15) also read it, and it is now her favorite book of all time.

I can’t say too much, because almost anything I say would be a spoiler. It’s a book about twins. And Jane Eyre. And it’s a book within a book. I love books with a writer for a main character. It’s gothic. It’s a modern book set in the past. It grips you early on, and barely lets go until the last few words. This book will be a classic and required reading in school one day. There is murder and drama, ghosts and stories.

I can definitely imagine myself reading this again one day to catch all the clues sprinkled throughout the story. I figured out NONE of the surprises in advance, which is a rarity for me. I can’t wait to put educated eyes back in this book. Pick this up and get worried and confused. Get that uneasy feeling in your stomach. Catch a fever. That’s what this book made me feel. Many thanks to Diane Setterfield for spending three years crafting this wonder of a book!


About Diane Setterfield

Diane Setterfield is a British author. Her bestselling novel, The Thirteenth Tale (2006) was published in 38 countries worldwide and has sold more than three million copies. It was number one in the New York Times hardback fiction list for three weeks and is enjoyed as much for being ‘a love letter to reading’ as for its mystery and style. Her second novel, Bellman & Black (2013 is a genre-defying tale of rooks and Victorian retail. January 2019 sees the publication of her new title, Once Upon a River, which has been called ‘bewitching’ and ‘enchanting’.

Born in Englefield, Berkshire in 1964, Diane spent most of her childhood in the nearby village of Theale. After schooldays at Theale Green, Diane studied French Literature at the University of Bristol. Her PhD was on autobiographical structures in André Gide’s early fiction. She taught English at the Institut Universitaire de Technologie and the Ecole nationale supérieure de Chimie, both in Mulhouse, France, and later lectured in French at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. She left academia in the late 1990s to pursue writing.

The Thirteenth Tale was acquired by Heyday Films and adapted for television by the award-winning playwright and scriptwriter, Christopher Hampton. Starring Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman, it was filmed in 2013 in North Yorkshire for BBC2. The TV rights to Once Upon a River have even sold to Kudos (Broadchurch, Spooks, Grantchester).

Diane Setterfield has been published in over forty countries.

Diane lives in Oxford, in the UK. When not writing she reads widely, and when not actually reading she is usually talking or thinking about reading. She is, she says, ‘a reader first, a writer second.’

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