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The thirteenth tale : a novel
2006
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Margaret Lea (Female), Biographer, Writer
Genre
Fiction
Suspense
Historical
Topics
Family secrets
Haunted houses
Writers
Celebrities
Biographies
Ghosts
Biographers
Female friendship
Governesses
Family histories
Recluses
Setting
England - Europe
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Vida Wagner is about to spill a terrible secret she has been hiding for 60 years. One of those highly touted debuts; with a 14-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Setterfield's debut novel translates into a great audio book that loses none of the suspense, surprise and satisfaction that come with a wonderful tale. The voices of two of the best dramatic talents working today turn Setterfield's story into a glorious treat for listeners. Henshall, who reads as Margaret Lea, and Redgrave, who plays recluse writer Vida Winter, create mood and tension with their voices, which settles listeners into the narrative with ease. Margaret, a young bookseller and amateur biographer, is chosen by Miss Winter as the recipient of the secret of her tragic past. She reveals, layer by layer, the mesmerizing tale of the Angelfield family that includes murder, insanity, feral twins, a ghost and a fire. Margaret's own past in some ways parallels Miss Winter's, leading them both through the blaze of memory into the truth. Audio fans will be dazzled; fans of the written word will find new depth to The Thirteenth Tale thanks to the rich work of two veteran readers. Simultaneous release with the Atria hardcover (Reviews, June 26). (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Summary
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 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 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. 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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