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Settle down to enjoy a rousing good ghost story with Diane Setterfield's debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale. Setterfield has rejuvenated the genre with this closely plotted, clever foray into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths. She never cheats by pulling a rabbit out of a hat; this atmospheric story hangs together perfectly.
There are two heroines here: Vida Winter, a famous author, whose life story is coming to an end, and Margaret Lea, a young, unworldly, bookish girl who is a bookseller in her father's shop. Vida has been confounding her biographers and fans for years by giving everybody a different version of her life, each time swearing it's the truth. Because of a biography that Margaret has written about brothers, Vida chooses Margaret to tell her story, all of it, for the first time. At their initial meeting, the conversation begins:
"You have given nineteen different versions of your life story to journalists in the last two years alone."
She [Vida] shrugged. "It's my profession. I'm a storyteller."
"I am a biographer, I work with facts."
The game is afoot and Margaret must spend some time sorting out whether or not Vida is actually ready to tell the whole truth. There is more here of Margaret discovering than of Vida cooperating wholeheartedly, but that is part of Vida's plan. The transformative power of truth informs the lives of both women by story's end, and The Thirteenth Tale is finally and convincingly told. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Former academic Setterfield pays tribute in her debut to Brontë and du Maurier heroines: a plain girl gets wrapped up in a dark, haunted ruin of a house, which guards family secrets that are not hers and that she must discover at her peril. Margaret Lea, a London bookseller's daughter, has written an obscure biography that suggests deep understanding of siblings. She is contacted by renowned aging author Vida Winter, who finally wishes to tell her own, long-hidden, life story. Margaret travels to Yorkshire, where she interviews the dying writer, walks the remains of her estate at Angelfield and tries to verify the old woman's tale of a governess, a ghost and more than one abandoned baby. With the aid of colorful Aurelius Love, Margaret puzzles out generations of Angelfield: destructive Uncle Charlie; his elusive sister, Isabelle; their unhappy parents; Isabelle's twin daughters, Adeline and Emmeline; and the children's caretakers. Contending with ghosts and with a (mostly) scary bunch of living people, Setterfield's sensible heroine is, like Jane Eyre, full of repressed feeling—and is unprepared for both heartache and romance. And like Jane, she's a real reader and makes a terrific narrator. That's where the comparisons end, but Setterfield, who lives in Yorkshire, offers graceful storytelling that has its own pleasures. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I was hoping for a few simple stories, something to take my mind off myself and carry me away for a nice little break from reality. Read morePublished 10 hours ago by Reader in Upstate NY
The book left you with many questions until the last. It was really well written and kept your interest.Published 7 days ago by Charlotte A. Meiter
I did not want the story to end it is the perfect story for anyone who loves books. Must read!Published 9 days ago by Kindle Customer
The thirteenth tale reveals itself in a wonderfully written saga that ties the past with the present.Published 9 days ago by TheDeb
Very well written, very entertaining story. The characters were well-developed and the story had enough surprises and twists to keep it going until the end. Read morePublished 15 days ago by urabus
Margaret is chosen to hear the 'truth' from the famous writer who has left the world hanging when her first novel "The Thirteenth Tale" is published with only 12 stories. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Linda B Goucher
This is a masterfully crafted tale, filled with twists and turns and lurid details. It is intriguing and pulls you in like all good stories should.Published 17 days ago by johanna ulett
I loved this book. A little slow at first, but the pay off was awesome. I wanted to read it all over again as soon as I finished.Published 18 days ago by Amy Grant