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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
Really good book, very well written, great characters and story lines.
The Thirteenth Tale is a debut novel by Diane Setterfield that pays respect to predecessor gothic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca.
You finish the last pages, you close the book, you think to yourself of what you've just read and breathe a sigh of satisfaction.
I was enthralled by this tale. It was one of those stories that stays on your mind all day until you can get back to it. I highly recommend it.Published 9 hours ago by Julie K. Perkins
I love this book; it has all the elements of a classical novel. I would recommend it to everyone who enjoy Daphne Du Maurier.Published 1 day ago by Carol Baloglu
It kept me interested throughout. The type of book I would have read in 2 days if it were not the Christmas season. A few twists and turns throughout. Read morePublished 3 days ago by kathy
There are many detailed and helpful reviews here. I just will add that this is a profoundly well written book with the mood and feeling of Jane Eyre. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Myrtle
I enjoyed Diane Setterfield's Thirteenth Tale--but I wasn't over the moon. It was almost too gothic for my taste: the rain, the insane sister, the crumbling country manor, the... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Ms. L.
I give this 3.5 stars because while it was an engrossing read and had a good central mystery, there were certain flaws in the book. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Madi
The Thirteenth Tale is ostensibly the story of a life lived given over to a biographer. It is a tale of inter-tangled lives focused on loss, horrendous family choices and... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Joe Frazier
Great concept and characters, suburb use of language and writing technique, beginning and middle are 5 stars....the wrap up wasn't in keeping ... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Fran
Beautifully written and paced! I am now a confirmed fan of Ms. Setterfield. This story weaves around the history of a family, a very dysfunctional family. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Vamp Queen