Vanessa Redgrave portrays Vida Winter in this film, and her sister, Lynn Redgrave, portrays the part of Vida Winter in the audiobook by Diane Setterfield, on. Diane Setterfield’s debut novel arrived already wreathed in acclaim, and it’s easy to see why. The Thirteenth Tale is a cleverly plotted. Former academic Setterfield pays tribute in her debut to Brontë and du Maurier heroines: a The Thirteenth Tale. Diane Setterfield, Author.

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Return to Book Page. All children mythologize their birth So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter’s collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist. The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself — all of them inv All children mythologize their birth The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself — all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret.

Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter’s story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission. As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling but remains suspicious of the author’s sincerity.

A tale with a twist

She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves. The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that 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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The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

I’m about halfway through and can’t figure out when Margaret Lea’s story is set. I’m thinking sometime between andthirteeenth there are cars but she takes notes using a notepad and does her research using print books and newspapers. Did I miss the mention of a year? O’Grady In an interview a while back Setterfield explained how she purposely set her novel in an ambiguous time.

I had the same question and hunted down the …more In an interview a while back Setterfield explained how she purposely set her novel in an ambiguous time. I had the same question and hunted down the answer from the source. It’s a great read. I was recommended to read this book and went to see if it was available in audio book format. Library only has the small print setterfielc and an abridged version. Is the abridged version ok?

Terri The first time I “read” this book, it was the unabridged audio book. At that time, I had a ridiculous commute: So, I listened to a …more The first time I “read” this book, it was the unabridged audio book. So, I listened to a LOT of audio books for those years.

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I must say that the thirteehth version of The Thirteenth Tale is the best-produced audio book I’ve ever read. Two different actresses are used: The actresses selected — and their portrayals — are spot on! Even if you’ve read this book with your eyes, I would recommend listening to the audio book if you have the time.

You will thoroughly enjoy every second! See all 24 questions about The Thirteenth Tale…. Lists with This Book. Jul 06, Kristina A rated it it was ok Shelves: I really, really wanted to like this book. I heard good things about it, and it has many elements I dians love in a novel: The protagonist, Margaret, grew up in a bookstore and learned to read using 19th century novels, and there are clear parallels in the story to Jane Eyre, Wuthering He Sigh.

The protagonist, Margaret, grew up in a bookstore and learned to read using 19th century novels, and there are clear parallels in the story to Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Turn of the Screw, and so on. And yet, with all it had going for it, somehow it fell flat for me.

Somehow it felt slight and, eventually, tedious at the same time. There were definitely many interesting moments, but for some reason, the “gothic” elements of the story never swept me up in the passion and scandal the way it would if the Brontes or Wilkie Collins wrote it. Obviously this is an unfair comparison since the Brontes and Collins are my favorite writers, but then again, if you’re going to model your story on Jane Eyre and indeed, there were parts that really beat you over daine head with it, stating the obvious instead of allowing the reader to infer for herselfyou should be up to the task, right?

One of the problems, in my opinion, is that it seems Setterfield xiane a “Chinese box” construction ala Wuthering Heights, but whereas that novel drew me in and made me feel like I was personally sitting at Nelly’s feet as she told me the story of Heathcliff and Cathy, somehow Setterfield’s construction in which the novelist Vida Winter tells Margaret her story, and does so using third person, for a reason revealed later in the novel feels very distanced.

Margaret has a personal obsession which is supposed to parallel Miss the novel’s term, not mine Winter’s, but this obsession, for me at least, had me wishing Margaret would just get over it already. Miss Winter’s story stops adding much new information at a certain point, and later we are given the diaries of a minor character, which essentially only goes over information we already know.

Yet despite this, the ending feels rushed, and the mysterious “thirteenth tale,” which Margaret receives in writing toward the end, is only excerpted.

Byatt had written this novel, as I suspect Setterfield may not have felt up to the task of writing “the thirteenth tale,” which has a fascinating premise. Byatt, I am sure, would have written a gorgeous tale to end the book with. That’s the bottom line, I suppose: I just don’t think Setterfield is that good a stylist. segterfield

Interview: Oliver Burkeman meets novelist Diane Setterfield | Opinion | The Guardian

The story should have drawn me in but didn’t, and I set it down to writing that simply wasn’t as imaginative or lovely as it could have been. With all of the wonderful Victorian-style writing going on now from former academics like Sarah Waters and AS Byatt, it’s too bad this book didn’t measure up. I kept comparing it to the in my opinion wonderful The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, which is also a first novel by a former academic.

The Historian has faults — it’s a little repetitious in certain points, it’s unwieldly, there are some logic issues — but it is so true to its Victorian predecessor Tzle Stoker’s Dracula in feeling, and it completely sucks you in pun thiretenth.


I have discovered a personal preference: I would rather have an overlong, unweildy, messy wonderful novel that completely absorbs me than a shorter, tidier, but slight novel that doesn’t touch me emotionally. Wow, did I just write a review that’s longer than the book I just read? View all 56 comments. Aug 07, Emily May rated it it was amazing Shelves: In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner.

Wind themselves viane your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot tals, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic. Lots of people told thirtenth that this was a book I needed to read, but many of those people also warned me that I might find it slow. So I went into The Thirteenth Tale prepared for a subtle plot that moved at a gentle pace There was not a slow moment in this story because the thirgeenth itself was dynamic and consumingly evocative.

I was intrigued by the mystery, seduced by the characters and tjirteenth up in page after page of well-written family drama. People were right when they thirteentu it’s a book for people who love books. A love setrerfield literature and words is enthused in every page of this novel. I find myself believing that had I not already been a bibliophile, an encounter with this book would be enough to have me drooling over the endless possibilities and magic that lie within stories.

This book delivered on all three, but thirteemth was the latter that most amazed me. Setterfield completely seduces you with words. I read passages over and over again because I loved the language and style so much. When I was a child, books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books. It is not a yearning that one ever expects to be fulfilled.

Ms Winters wants Margaret to recount her life story, she wants to finally stop telling fictional stories and reveal the truth of her childhood and all its dark secrets. Thirteentg accepting, Margaret reads and falls in love with one of the author’s books called Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperationbut she is surprised to find that it contains only twelve stories Margaret finds herself unable to refuse the job. And as Vida Winters opens up more and more, both women are forced to confront the demons of their pasts.

I, for one, was totally sucked into every aspect of the story. The writing had hold of me, the characters made me need to know more about their lives, the mysteries surrounding Winters’ youth kept me guessing. If it’s possible, I think this book made me love books even more. View all 43 comments. Sep 13, Lisa M.

You leave the previous book with ideas and themes—characters even—caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you” This quote from The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield sums up my experience with the book. Likely this is the result of my recent tendency toward s “Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you?

Likely this is the result of my recent tendency toward selecting less-than-literary books in an attempt to find some distraction without devoting much real focus to the reading. There is no reference to time in the setting of The Thirteenth Tale.