Book Reviews of The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged)

The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged)
The Thirteenth Tale - Audio CD - Abridged
Author: Diane Setterfield, Ruthie Henshall (Narrator), Lynn Redgrave (Narrator)
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ISBN-13: 9780743564519
ISBN-10: 0743564510
Publication Date: 2006
Edition: Abridged
Rating:
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 58

4.2 stars, based on 58 ratings
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Book Type: Audio CD
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

244 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 25
It has been quite a while since I have read a book that left me craving for more - not that this story is incomplete, I just didn't want it to end. Although the story circles around death and dying, I found the author's words breathing life in every aspect she touched. Her style of writing was very soothing to me and while there was a mystery abounding, I was never scared.

I see the two main characters on a journey: Vita, coming to the end of her life, cleansing herself of the spirit she was and Margaret coming out of a self-imposed "death" stemming from the spirit she carried around and stepping into a new life.

I am making room on my favorite book shelf for this one nestled between Rebecca/Mrs.de Winter and Kane & Abel and a hop, skip and jump from Gone with the Wind, The Other Boleyn Girl, and The Widow of the South.
reviewed The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 329 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 22
Fabulous book! A mystery from the past is unveiled in little pieces throughout the book, making it extremely difficult to put the book down. It really is better to take your time reading the book, not because it is hard to follow, but because the anticipation is part of the enjoyment. The characters are very unique and the scenes are vividly described. The book really came alive in my mind. It wouldn't surprise me to see this as a movie one day. I am definitely going to remember this author's name and look forward to whatever she writes next.
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Helpful Score: 21
Once I started reading I was very bored. I told myself to atleast give it a hundred pages. First night I read 36 pages, I thought it would take forever to get to 100. The next day I read over 300 pages. I could not put the book down. I finished the last 40 pages the next day. I thought about those last 40 pages and could not wait to start reading, I almost thought about giving up my sleep. It is very slow to start and then it starts to pull you in. I felt I needed to make notes in the book for all the questions that I wanted to ask. There are still some questions that they did not answer for me, but at the end I felt the book did not let me down. Once I finished I could not start a new book, this book is so involved that the characters are still going around in my head and I feel they will be there tonight when I sleep.
reviewed The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 20
This story had me engaged from page one, like few other books do. It's the kind of book you can curl up with and get lost in. You will not be able to put it down until you have figured everything out, and even then, you will want to read it again, as I did, the minute you finish it. This is truly a captivating tale, and furthermore, it will make you want to go back and read all of the classics that you might have missed, particularly Jane Eyre, which is mentioned several times throughout. As an aside, you might want to read Jane Eyre before you read this one...I believe it will enhance your enjoyment of The Thirteenth Tale. I myself read it (for the first time) immediately after this one, and although it didn't take away from my enjoyment of either book, I truly wish I had read it first. Enjoy this one!
reviewed The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 16
Reviewed by K. Osborn Sullivan for TeensReadToo.com

This is a fascinating and rich Gothic mystery about a young Englishwoman who is hired to write the biography of a famous, dying author. The author has always kept her past a secret from her millions of fans, and the biographer is about to find out why. The young woman moves into the old author's home in the remote English countryside, and spends the ensuing weeks compiling details of the author's bizarre and disturbing early years. As the dying author tells that one final tale, her biographer finds herself working through some of her own demons. Interestingly, the biographer's demons at times bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the ones she is writing about for her employer.

THE THIRTEENTH TALE is a modern-day story, but it is written in an old-fashioned, Gothic style that takes its time to reveal its many secrets. It includes all the elements of a classic Gothic novel: a crumbling haunted house, English moors, dense fog, and a young heroine who finds herself in a potentially dangerous situation. It is gripping, at times frightening, and always interesting. I was kept guessing about how the story would eventually be resolved, and was pleased by how skillfully the author pulled all of the pieces together.

My biggest complaint about THE THIRTEENTH TALE is that the main character felt somewhat one-dimensional. It is possible, however, that the characterization might have been intentional. The main character has been damaged by her own past, so maybe this was demonstrated by making her seem less-than-complete. In any case, that is a minor complaint for the book because many of the other characters are so well drawn.

This is an excellent book for readers who like a good, unusual mystery. There was even a happy ending for those characters who were capable of enjoying happy endings. Be warned, though, that this novel is written for adults. Its dreaded "adult themes" include (vague, not graphic) references to incest, sex, and children born out of wedlock, as well as (explicit) mental illness. But if you're willing to overlook those issues, this is a great story and a fascinating mystery for older readers.
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Helpful Score: 12
The main character, Margaret Lea, immediately delighted me with her descriptions of life in her father's rare book shop where she tends old and precious books. She is asked one day, by letter, to write about the true life of the century's most important writer, Vida Winter. She is intrigued and mystified as she has never read any books by contemporary writers and doesn't consider herself a writer, safe for a small publication of an essay. She makes her way to misty Yorkshire where she begins to delve into Vida Winter's story and that of a mysterious and tragic family.

For me this book is primarily about the stories that each person has. There may be a public story, a told story and a true story, but every person has stories. And by telling us Vida and Margaret's stories and placing books so centrally within the plot, it celebrates books and the characters within them. There is a section when Margaret tells us that she takes care of the books in her fathers' shop and reads a few pages every day and as long as someone reads about the characters in them, they stay alive.

This is a wonderful book and I recommend it gighly.
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Helpful Score: 11
The best book I have read in years! I was almost late to work this morning, because I just had to know what happened next. Great twists and turns...every time I thought I knew the truth, I found myself surprised. The ending was not a disappointment and at the same time left a few small questions in my mind (I hate it when books tie up EVERY loose end perfectly...makes it less believable for me)
reviewed The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 34 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, Wow! It was so intriguing. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you don't. I love that the ending didn't leave you hanging. She finished all the loose ends.
reviewed The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Just finished this and all I can think is, "WOW!" No other words for it. The plot twists are great, the characters are so complex, and I really enjoyed the beginning descriptions of the book store, Margaret's life, and how she feels when summoned to write the biography. An all-around fantastic read.

Someone mentioned how slow the beginning is, but I enjoyed it, as it set the tone for the rest of the novel. It's fanciful, gothic, gruesome, and a testament to the ties we have with our families. I kept thinking of all the romantic novels mentioned in the book, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, etc., and how much the story was a tribute to their influences in literature.
reviewed The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Excellent book proves that things aren't always what they appear to be. Curl up with this great book and be enveloped by the intertwining tales of madness,deceit,family secrets and sometimes unselfish love for others. I hated this book to end, and have had second thoughts about trading it off.
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Helpful Score: 7
I got this book as a Christmas gift. Not the type of book I ever would have picked up myself. What a great story! Very unique, and well written. I would recommend this to anyone. Take a chance and step away from your normal genre. You won't be sorry with this one!
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Helpful Score: 7
Magnificent. I resisted reading this, due to all the hype, and the fact that I do not read much contemporary "adult" fiction. However, once I started I was fully engrossed. Extremely satisfying, though some parts in the middle seemed to drag a bit. Also, the story involving the narrator was quite boring at times, and seemed like an afterthought. Overall, highly recommended. I'd be interested in reading more books with the same tone / feel / atmosphere.
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Helpful Score: 7
A very interesting book. I loved the ending!
Reading this book was like being in a storm and then seeing the calm afterwards. I would definately recommend it.
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Helpful Score: 7
I absolutely loved this book! I could feel the feelings they didn't even write about but you knew were there. It pulled me in and I couldn't put it down. I can't say enough about it and I can't wait to read her next book!
reviewed The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I was thoroughly wrapped up in this book. There are so many twists of plot, and just when I thought I had figured the story out, something else came to light. I found this to be fascinating, a touching story.
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Helpful Score: 6
For anyone who loves telling stories, patching them together, or simply listening to them, this book offers a plethora of good reading material. Written in beautiful prose, the author opens a world of book appreciation, haunted houses, ghosts, and twins.
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Helpful Score: 6
A wonderful story with twists and turns just like the grand estates in which it is set. The characters, haunted by their secrets, pull you into their lives, enticing you to turn the page for more.
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Helpful Score: 5
The author sets an imaginative, gothic tale in a story with compelling characters and a long-ago mystery.

This is the best I've read in a long time, and I'll be looking for more Diane Stterfield.
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Helpful Score: 5
This is a book for people who love to read! The allusions to other stories added a rich texture to the story. I loved the story within a story within a story aspect. This reminded me a lot of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. The stories were rich. I wanted to finish this book to hear the end of the story while at the same time I wanted to savor the story telling and read it slowly. I know that I will come back to this book and read it again. It was a fun read.
reviewed The Thirteenth Tale (Audio CD) (Abridged) on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This isnt the type of book I normally read (or, in this case, listen to) but I was genuinely impressed with Diane Setterfields first novel. Ive seen references to it as gothic fiction, but it really is missing both of the typical gothic elements, horror and romance, at least in the traditional sense of the genre. Rather, its an atmospheric mystery, in the sense that the truth about a famous novelists past is gradually revealed. Its a complex telling, as the novelist dictates her biography to our protagonist. Each revelation seems to raise more questions and more suspicions. There are some gruesome aspects to the story, but the overall feeling Setterfield arouses is curiosity what happened, who is who and what is the novelists true identity?

Setterfields language is refined, elegant, and evocative. In that sense, The Thirteenth Tale does invite comparison with Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. While I was a little let down by some of the eventual revelations (too anticlimactic in my view) and on coincidental encounters, those flaws did not diminish my enjoyment much. I listened to the unabridged CD version of this book in my car, and I confess to taking the long way home a few times so that I could hear more of the story. The CD employs two women as readers, and both of them (Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner) are superb, articulate and expressive.
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Helpful Score: 3
I don't know that Ive ever enjoyed an audio book more. The narrators were beyond wonderful - I was spellbound and actually wished my commute was longer. What a beautiful story from beginning to end. The characters are fascinating - all of them! Wow! Great! 5 stars!
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Helpful Score: 3
Loved it! It felt like I was reading a classic. Lots of twists and turns, very interesting characters. I didn't want the story to end, so I read the last two chapters very, very slowly. Highly recommend.
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Helpful Score: 3
I loved this book! I read it in 3 days. It was a fascinating story with plenty of twists and turns that left me wondering what could possibly happen next. When I was finished with it, I gave it to my 19 year old daughter who also read it straight through. A fun light read that will leave you wondering every time you put it down.
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Helpful Score: 3
I was completely surprised by this book. It starts out a little slow, but as I read, I had a hard time putting in down.
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Helpful Score: 3
It really is a page turner but not in the horrible I can not sleep suspense is killing you and wrenching your gut. It is one of the best books I have read this year.
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Helpful Score: 3
Gothic tale with lots of twists and turns. Hard to put down once you start reading. Mystery, historical novel, family relations. Great read!
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Helpful Score: 3
I found this book very interesting. It was read by two different voices which really helped follow the story. The ending was very complete and that is something I value in a good story.
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Helpful Score: 2
When I finished this book, I just said WOW. I thought it was beautifully written, a very original story. I'm not a huge mystery fan, so for me this kind of transcended that genre and made me want to read a million more books by this author. Unfortunately, this is it (so far).
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Helpful Score: 2
The Thirteenth Tale is a wonderfully told modern gothic story, filled with all the elements of that genre: An aging mysterious woman, a young woman who has lived a sheltered life, an old house, family secrets, hints of sexual obsession, madness, a governess, a devastating fire and a ghost or two.

Vida Winter is a reclusive yet world renowned writer nearing the end of her life. For many years she has told wildly exotic tales of her life and upbringing, each more outrageous than the other, all without a grain of truth. When she reads an obscure biography written by Margaret Lea, Ms. Winter contracts with her to tell her life story. As Vida tells the story of her life, Margaret is struck by some parallels with her own life and secrets. As she sets out to learn the truth of Vida's life, she also must confront some painful truths of her own.

Ms. Setterfield has written a tale that is at times haunting and sad. Paying homage to some of the great Gothic tales of early years, and borrowing liberally from Jane Eyre, she tells a wonderful old fashioned tale with a surprising ending that is both shocking yet believable.

A great book for a long cold winter night.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book had me captivated from the very first page. The writer has an eloquent style that I enjoyed. A surprisingly great read!
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Helpful Score: 2
Haunting story. I really enjoyed this rich story about secrets, ghosts, winter, books, and family. This is a book lover's book with frequent references to some of the great gothic novels from the past like Jane Eyre, The Woman in White, and probably the story that most resembles this novel, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James as described in Hester's diary as "a story about a governess and two haunted children." This book also reminded me a lot of Daphne DuMaurier's novels such as Rebecca and The House on the Strand. In fact, this novel is a homage to these and other great works of literature. The power of books, stories, and writers is foremost in the novel. I loved the passage on page 17 where Margaret is describing how an author's writing lives on long after the writer is dead:

"People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic."

All in all, this was "a good story written by a very good writer about a good story told by a very good writer." I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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Helpful Score: 2
What a fantastic story! I would put it down...only to pick it up right away again. The characters, the story, the mystery... they grabbed me and wouldn't let go. What a great story!
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Helpful Score: 2
Fabulously written. Gripping, haunting and a twist at the end. Diane Setterfield's writing pulls the reader right into the story. I look forward to more work from this author.
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Helpful Score: 2
I almost didnt read this. Starts a bit slow but when I went back to it it sucked me in !!! Great story, prepare for a long night when you get started in this one !
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Helpful Score: 2
Engrossing. Setterfield uses beautiful language.
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Helpful Score: 2
Not something I would usually read but read for a bookclub and LOVED IT! Kept me thinking and wanting to not put it down.
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Helpful Score: 2
I was really impressed with this book and wasn't expecting it at all. It's so well written, detailed, engaging, kept you guessing, haunting and strangely realistic. I had a hard time putting it down and once finished, I couldn't pick up another book for a good week for I kept dwelling and feeling haunted over this one. Great story. It certainly goes on my list of favorites.

Like another reviewer said, it's better to read this one more slowly and soak it all in. I hustled through with excitement and felt like I had missed a few things. I want to read it again to catch all.
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Helpful Score: 2
A beautifully written, haunting tale of a famous, reclusive author and the unknown young woman she hires to write her biography. This book is a fascinating read that won't let you go!!!
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Helpful Score: 2
A page turner. A first rate mystery.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book in the beginning did not grab me. I found it a little slow and actually put it down and read another book. When I picked it, back up it did not leave my fingers until it was finished. It starts slow, but in the end is a truly amazing book. It's a well written and entertaining... after you get through the first chapter or so. In all a very nice read and I recommend it.
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Helpful Score: 2
I really enjoyed this novel- it completely took me away.
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Helpful Score: 2
Overall I really liked this book. The deeper into the book you get, the more engrossed you will find yourself. Definitely recommend it !!
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Helpful Score: 2
I always find it interesting when writers write about reading and/or books. To me, the author's love for books just breathes from the page, which made the whole storytelling aspect so effective.

Once I started reading this, I couldn't stop. It definitely holds your interest. Story and style wise, reminded me of a combination between Jane Eyre and Rebecca.

I was a little disappointed with the resolution of the mystery, but still a worthwhile read.
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Helpful Score: 2
I really enjoyed this book. It was mysterious, sad, and captivating. At times, I did not want to put this book down and I was caught unaware at the end. An enjoyable read!
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Helpful Score: 2
I may be in the minority, but I did not really like this book. It got better, and I finished it, but the whole time I was reading it I felt like I was reading a paper by a college kid who wanted to show her professor how smart she was. It felt pretentious.
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Helpful Score: 2
Very detailed and pretty engrossing. It was enjoyable reading. But like every book there were some bits where a suspension of disbelief was necessary. Overall, I reccommend it.
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Helpful Score: 2
This story kept me guessing until the end. It was mysterious with a sense of gloom and doom. I really enjoyed this story. The two voiced used for the audio were very clear and easy to listen to. They read the story at a good pace...until the end. I felt at the end, as the story was getting more dramatic, the reader was getting more dramatic and slower. At the point, in the book where if I were actually reading it myself, I would have probably been rushing through the end trying to get to the bottom of the story, but the reader was really slow and dragging it out. It added more drama, but it was getting frustrating. What I liked most about the story was there was a sense of horror in the story. I knew something really off was going on, but then did find myself a little confused and dissatisfied in the end. Over all it was a good story though.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book is amazing! Honestly, I probably never would have picked it up, but my bookclub chose it as our October read. The beginning of the book was a little dry, but around page 50 I got sucked in! Every spare moment I could find, I picked it up to read, and when I didn't have the book open, I was thinking about it and trying to solve the mystery. I just finished it last night and want to reread it right away to see what I "missed." I would recommend this book to any reader that is looking for something out of the ordinary.
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Helpful Score: 2
This is a wonderful fictional book about a reclusive author. The author, one of the main characters in the book, commissions a young lady to write her biography.

The book centers around the author recounting her childhood. During the story, you think you know what is going on, but eventually as the book nears the end you find out, everything is not as it seems.

Enjoy!
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Helpful Score: 2
Oh how I loved this book! The story within a story, the deep love of reading, the strange characters there is good and evil and everything in between. Ive seen this referred to as a Gothic novel and Id have to agree. It just has that *feel* about it, what with a dilapidated old mansion, numerous recluses, and mysterious happenings.

You can read my entire review here.
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Helpful Score: 2
One of the best books I've read in a Very very long time! I'm not really sure why I liked it so much, but I really enjoyed it from beginning to end, I couldn't put it down until it was finished. Setterfield is a great writer! This is one that I won't be re-swapping because I know I'll read it a few more times.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was just OK for me - I found it a little overwrought - but I am not a big fan of the gothic genre.
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Helpful Score: 1
I don't want to share details of the story or characters, because you have to just read it--I don't want to ruin any of it for you. This is one of the better books I have read in the past year-great storytelling, twists and turns, suspense, mystery, and I like how she ties it all together. Very well done. All the elements of a great book are in this one. You will not want to put it down. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...get it, you won't be disappointed!
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Helpful Score: 1
This book started off great, but I found that I was disappointed by the ending. The solution of the "mystery" was very predictable and let me feeling unfulfilled. However, Setterfield does write well and she did create a compelling storyline. I think my favorite part of the book was actually the book itself - it's a beautiful hardcover edition!
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a good story but I thought some of the tangents were a bit pointless.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is one of those few books that will keep me truning pages until the wee hours of the night. Full of lush detail supporting Gothic style writing makes this a book to read over and over again!
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a well written book with many twists and turns. I thought it was a bit slow getting going but once I got to know all the characters it read swiftly. I really enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more novels by Diane Setterfield. Read the story of Vita Winter as told by an unknown amateur biographer. It's a great fiction tale by a most talented writer.
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Helpful Score: 1
I really wanted to like this book. So many excellent reviews. I made it thru 140 pages and still could not get into the book. I gave up.
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Helpful Score: 1
Fantastic book! Reminded me of the voice used in the Inkheart series books. I wish that the author would write some more novels as good as this one.
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Helpful Score: 1
Margaret receives an unexpected invitation from a reclusive, mysterious, best-selling writer - "come write my biography". Vida Winters is famous for spinning a different story for every reporter that comes to ask about her life when one of her books is published (all fifty-six of them), and turning down twenty-two biographers that have asked to write her life story. Margaret is the semi-reclusive daughter of an antique bookseller who has written a few essays about the almost-famous. As Margaret spends time with the dying author, listening to her incredible story spin out, she finds herself delving into the mystery of her own past as well as that of Ms. Winters.

The twists and turns of Ms. Winters' tale surprised me, but I felt like the ending was satisfying although bittersweet. The whole book felt bittersweet to me.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book had a very slow start and I almost put it down... but I'm glad I stuck with it. It's an intricately woven tale that kept me interested and guessing as to what would be revealed next. I would definitely recommend it for the lover of words or avid reader... or if you're a twin ;)
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Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this book. The story telling reminded me of a fairy tale... one of the Brother's Grimm Tales like Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood. A dash of mystery to keep you guessing, a giant, a large mansion, twins, a garden, a devastating fire...even a wolf. This has been a little step away from what I usually enjoy reading and what a pleasant surprise!!
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. It has the feel of a nice old classic.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved it!! It was so addicting, I couldn't put it down. I felt connected to every single character in this book. It was so well-written.
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Helpful Score: 1
If you have read many of the other reviews then you know this is a great read. It is story telling at its best. I wasn't sure I wanted to read it but it just kept popping up every time I logged into paperback swap, so i figured it was meant to be. I'm glad I did. Go ahead take a chance, read it.....you will be glad you did!
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Helpful Score: 1
The story started out really slow, but I'm glad I stuck with it. Turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a long time.
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Helpful Score: 1
This was the best book I have read in forever. I couldn't put it down, wondering what might come next. Loved the author's style and how everything was tied together at the end.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book!! It is now on my list of favorites. The characters were so deep, the story, just fascinating. I wish it wasn't over and might need to read it again to find hints of the twist...
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It has been quite a while sense I have read a book that keeps my imagination working throughout the day, even when I am not reading it. This book is an original story, with plots and subplots. If I could have hid out, I would have read until it was finished! The characters are easy to relate to whether you love them or hate them. I plan on reading more by this author. This is a must read book! 5 Stars!
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I can't say enough about this book. It is a fantastic story and it is beautifully written!!! read it read it read it!
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This book is one of my all time favorite. It has everything I like: mystery, ghosts, suspense. Excellent read! I couldn't put it down!
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I don't have a long review to share on this one, but it is a fabulous book. You will be swept away by the story, which is told from the narrator and then through her interview through flashbacks. Haunting, memorable... I highly recommend this book. :)
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This book came highly recommended to me by a friend. I have to admit, I had judged this book by its cover when I saw it in the bookstore. It looked...boring and old-fashioned. But my friend assured me that it was worth picking up.

I am so glad I did! The beginning was slow-going, but once the story moved from Margaret's story to Miss Winter's story, I was completely enthralled. This novel has all the elements of a classic gothic tale - crazy twins, a fire, a decaying manor house, ghostly happenings, abandonded children.

Yes, at times the writing seemed to be somewhat overdone. But, I think this just added to the story's overall tone. It worked quite well.

As an avid reader, I especially identified with Margaret's love of reading and her attitudes and feelings towards the books she loved.

This book was fun to read, and had me staying up way past my bedtime more than once. Recommended!
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Absolutely fabulous. This book called to me all day -- like it was my own ghost! It was the unraveling of a fabulous story, a nonpretentious mystery. It kept me guessing till the end. Completely wonderful and extremely well written!
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A super easy read with detailed characters. The story has a nice flow. A young writer is asked to write the autobiography of an elusive author - through first hand account of her story / life. The mystery and twists are good. The characters are well developed, and I only skimmed a few paragraphs (which is good for me- - I get bored easily when a story "wanders"....)
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What a wonderful book! As soon as I picked it up, I had a hard time putting it down. It was full of interesting characters, plot twists and turns, and I found myself very emotional at the end of the book. If you are a fan of cozy mysteries, this one might be a nice change of pace for you. It blends elements of classic literature with mystery very nicely. This would also be a good choice for a book club; there is a group discussion section in the back. I am looking forward to Setterfield's next book.
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Loved this book! The story draws you in like a soft warm blanket, and keeps you engaged through a wonderful story of love, love lost, love never found, and love so profound one would do anything to hold on to it.

This is one of those books I will hold onto to reread again.
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An amazing book of a young woman surrounded by old books in her father's bookstore, and the offer to help write the life story of a famous author. The main character moves to the house of the reclusive and mysterious woman, and begins a journey into the woman's life, while simultaneously moves towards her own understanding of her own mysteries and of her mother's life. A dark and interesting dramatic story that keeps you moving through to the very end!

I also recommend:

-- "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova
-- "The House at Rivertone" by Kate Morton
-- "The Year of Wonders" by Geraldine Brooks
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"There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic."

Margaret Lea is a lonely young biographer plagued by the early death of her twin sister when she receives a letter from an extremely well-known author, Vida Winter. A dying Ms. Winter is finally willing to reveal the truth of her own life- a mystery about which she has, until now, refused to reveal to her fans- and she requests that Margaret write the biography. Margaret is intrigued by the author's childhood and finds herself swept up into the story of twin sisters, Adeline and Emmeline, while recalling with pain her own missed opportunity for a sisterly connection. Margaret's painful past without her twin and her strained relationship with her mother are brought to light as she listens, records, and searches for truth in the final, ultimate thirteenth tale by Vida Winter.

This beautifully told story weaves through the lives of two very different writers and pulls the reader into a web of lies, secrecy, betrayal, hauntings, devastation, and disaster. Diane Setterfield entwines her words to create a lovely story that is best described as deliciously intriguing. As I read this book, I found myself drawn into the language so much so that the words began to fall out of my mouth and I soon found myself reading aloud to an empty living room... for hours. I completely enjoyed this novel!
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I found this to be a rather strange story at first. It wasn't quite what I expected but as the story progressed I found myself getting more involved with the story and the characters. I think the best thing to be said about this story is that it inspired me to read "Jane Eyre" again! The two are connected.
cathy g.
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I did not like this book at all. It was just too out there for me. I'm not generally a fantasy reader, so maybe that is why it didn't click for me. I found it impossible to get involved in the story and to care about what happened to the characters. Overall, I would not recommend this book.
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Amazing story...different from anything I've read recently. Plot has lots of twists. Great for book clubs. Eerie ghost components. I loved the concept of book-owning/reading/selling throughout the novel.
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Excellent book about a family and their bizarre life and secrets. Well told with twists and great mood. The narrating character's story gets caught up in the other story, too, and the emotions, the creepy scenes, and the variety of characters all kept me interested. It reminded me in parts of everything from Gormenghast to We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
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"A ruined mansion in the English countryside, secret illegitimate children, a madwoman hidden in the attic, ghostly twin sisters-yep, it's a gothic novel, and it doesn't pretend to be anything fancier. But this one grabs the reader with its damp, icy fingers and doesn't let go until the last shocking secret has been revealed.

Margaret Lea, an antiquarian bookseller and sometime biographer of obscure writers, receives a letter from Vida Winter, "the world's most famous living author." Vida has always invented pasts for herself in interviews, but now, on her deathbed, she at last has decided to tell the truth and has chosen Margaret to write her story. Now living at Vida's (spooky) country estate, Margaret finds herself spellbound by the tale of Vida's childhood some 70 years earlier...but is it really the truth? And will Vida live to finish the story?

"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.


Okay first let me suggest you visit Diane Setterfield's site and read up on the book, if you don't like re-reads. It will not give much away just a lot to think about. (Her site has been closed, not sure why so I have added a different link below)

I read the book first, loved it, couldn't put it down. Then looked up the writer to see if she had something else out, she didn't. This was her first book, her second book ( which I just found out ) comes out Nov 5 2013. 'Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story'

Brillant writer.

The site gives new meaning to re-read if you have read the book first. Many twist and turns. If you want to remain clueless (which I'm glad I was) do not go to the site.

For those who want to know and have a heads up on what to look for when you read the book...

http://www.veronicaheley.com/thethirteenthtale.php?l2=78&l1=63

Awesome read.
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If you love books then this is a must read.What a great story.I couldnt put the book down.
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This was a refreshing read that wasn't like anything else that I've ever read! I can't wait to read more from this author!
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Excellent book written in storyteller format. Hard to put down!
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This is great book for a book discussion group. Just make sure everyone has read it before the discussion begins.
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I loved this story. It was so rich in building the suspense a piece at a time. Towards the end, I had a few moments where I had guessed what was about to be revealed and I found myself holding my breath, waiting to hear if I had it right. Truly, Diane Setterfield laid the grounds for the mystery of Winters life, but then coupling it with Margarets own tragic beginning made for excellent reading.

While many of the characters in this story are long dead, as they are part of Winters past, the author wrote them so believably real and their existence is still reflected in how they shaped and molded Ms. Winter as a young lady. From her own emotionally absent parents to the gardener and the house mistress, and even a short-term governess. All these people had a piece in the tragedy of Winters life, some good and some bad and some a mix. I appreciated that in the end, Winter wasnt free of her burden of guilt and bad choices past.
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this was such an awesome book!! I could not put it down!!
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A beautifully written gothic tale that appealed to me on many levels. It will draw you in and immerse you into the story. If you love books and a good mystery this one should not be missed. I thought it was magical...
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A ghost story more than a mystery. It will send shivers down your spine while you rush to the surprising conclusion. A real page turner.
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A wonderful old fashioned mystery - told as a dying woman relates her life story to a biographer. As the old woman reveals the secrets of her past that she has never told anyone before, the young woman author comes to terms with some of the demons of her own past. It is a book that is hard to put down once you start because you can't wait to see what will happen next.
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The mysterious nature of this book(especially the story-within-a-story) would make this a perfect read for the fall, curled up in front of a fireplace. A real tribute to the power of good storytelling-- makes me wish I was better at it!
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Loved the author's writing style. Very good book!
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Great story with lots of twists and turns. A shy writer gets the opportunity of a lifetime when a a famous author asks this writer to be her biographer. Great for book clubs.
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My mother borrowed this book from her work for me and suggested I read it as a book lover and aspiring writer who is driven by character and plot. It's a fantastic story that took me a while to warm up to. Once I got into it I couldn't put it down because my mum (who had read it before) kept saying the answer to all my questions was at the end of the book. So keep reading! I hope to see more from Setterfield.
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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.
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Love, betrayal, deceit...good story!
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Nice story, but dragged at parts.
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This book was incredible. I am only sorry that this is an abridgment and can't wait to get my hands on the full length version.
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A wonderful tale with a classic feel to it.
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Wonderful! Kept me intrigued and enthralled to the very end!!
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Very original, intriguing mystery with allusions to British classics like Jane Eyre and Alice in Wonderland. I loaned this copy to 3 others who also gave it 5 stars.
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Couldn't get into the stories.
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Different but very good.
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I had a hard time putting this book down because of the need to know how it ended.
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The writing is excellent, with an unusual descriptive talent. The story is compelling.
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Wow -- lived up to its reviews and then some! A wonderful novel -- memoir, ghost story, mystery -- that just "blooms" as you read it. Very highly recommended.
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I so enjoyed this version of the book! Even though it is Abridged I feel that I got the full story.
And the 2 narrators made the story come to life. Absolutely wonderful!
I can highly recommend this to anyone. A good tale that will keep you wanting more.
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I thought this was an original story with the highest quality production. It's a pleasure to listen to. Although I found some of the plot points a little too contrived, I enjoyed the old-fashioned storytelling style. It makes for great listening.
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I really enjoyed this Audio CD.The story was very interesting. Held my attention and I found myself thinking about the story after I had turned the book off. Really liked the readers style.
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I found the writing style in this book to be intriguing and the story entertaining. It had a bit of a slow start, but I soon found myself caught up in the tale and its characters. Definately a story for readers and book lovers.
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Oh how I loved this book! The story within a story, the deep love of reading, the strange characters there is good and evil and everything in between. Ive seen this referred to as a Gothic novel and Id have to agree. It just has that *feel* about it, what with a dilapidated old mansion, numerous recluses, and mysterious happenings.

You can read my entire review here.
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Great story. Once you start you won't be able to stop.
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This was a great read. I was surprised how deeply absorbed I got in the story. Lots of twists! Hard to put down.
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Great Book! I really liked the story and the surprises that kept unfolding.
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I really enjoyed this book! It was very dark at times, but has an overall positive ending! I would definitely recommend this!
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This was a dark book and I absolutely loved it. Not a good book for a sunny day but on a cloudy, rainy day, it is wonderful!
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I enjoyed this book -- definitely for Bronte fans vs. Austen fans, however.
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I originally checked this book out from the library. It was wonderful. Great mystery with twists. Awesome descriptions of surroundings, I felt like I was there. Again, Loved it!
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This was a tragic tale that's reminiscent of dark goth books from the 1800s. It was definitely interesting.
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Perhaps it was style of which the book was written, but I read about a third of the way through the book before I started to feel anything but disgust for any of the characters, including Margaret. Everyone seemed to be psychotic, sociopathic, depressed, or something else wrong with their minds. The family at Angelfield probably couldn't help it. There were deep mental problems, evil acts, and way-too-close, inappropriate, and distructive family relationships going back at lest three generations. Talk about a dysfunctional family! (But, I felt, that Margaret should have more of a reaction to the abuse that Vida Winter told her about than, "Hmmmm. What an interesting mystery.")

But, the story was told, for the most part, with such a detatched, dispassionate, almost journalistic feeling that it was hard for me to feel passion. Perhaps Vida Winter, having lived through it all, no longer feels the need to express emotion over the long-ago sometimes horrific acts?

Grandfather is depressed because his wife died giving birth to his daughter, and locks himself in his room. Finally, in desperation, the housekeeper shoves his infant daughter, Isabel, in his arms. Well....that brings him out of his funk, but only partly, because now he dotes on his daughter, but in an extremely inappropriate manner (not sexual, but still...).

Meanwhile, he totally ignores and neglects his nine-year-old son, Charlie, who, without love, disipline, or guidance, takes out his rage by becoming increasingly violent and cruel. He starts out by arranging "accidents" for the maids and understaff of the household, causing some of them to be seriously injured. Staff doesn't last long at this house! Later, Charlie "graduates" to torturing and later raping his sister. However, Isabel seems to enjoy it, and turn it on Charlies, thus becoming his collaberator, ESPECIALLY when she decides that she wants to date. To get rid of him, she throw young women at him, and he rapes them instead. When she marries and leaves the house, he continues the rampage on his own. Still, he is "in love" and misses Isabel, which leads to self-mutalation.

Fast forward a few years. Isabel has given birth to girl twins, and her husband has died. So she returns with her twins to Angelfield and Charlie. As the twins grow, they in turn have far too close a relationship to each other, speak only in "twin talk", relate only to each other, and cannot seem to understand the feelings of others. Furthurmore, their personalities are polar opposites of each other. One is gentle and docile and apparently mentally retarded. She allows her twin, who is wild, cruel, domineering, cunning, and violent, to abuse her and lead her into frightenly bad deeds. When a doctor and a governess try to experiment on the the twins by seperating them for several months, they both become catatonic until they are reunited.

And, of course, since the family is rich, most people are afraid to bring charges against any of the family members, for the most part.

Did the "wild" twin really live to become the famous author, Vida Winter?

I was about ready to give up on the book after I read about a third of the way through it. I prefer stories that involve all my emotions, not just disgust.

However, I pushed my way through it. When the governess and the doctor experimented on the twins, I actually finally started to feel sorry for them. Then, as Margaret explores on her own the mystery of the family at Angelfield, the twins's personalities develope into something approachable. More "normal" characters are added to the cast as well.

So, it seems that everyone left alive in the story is searching for their past, their family, trying to reconcile their losses and past deeds. Everything weaves together in the end into a complex, interesting human drama and satisfying mystery.

Still, I think that I would have appreciate the book better if the story and the characters had been written/presented in a different way.
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Helpful Score: 1
I absolutely loved this book, i would have to put this in my top ten favorite books of all time, my only wish is that she would hurry up and write another one :)
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Excellent book.
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Oh how I loved this book! The story within a story, the deep love of reading, the strange characters there is good and evil and everything in between. Ive seen this referred to as a Gothic novel and Id have to agree. It just has that *feel* about it, what with a dilapidated old mansion, numerous recluses, and mysterious happenings.

You can read my entire review here.
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Helpful Score: 1
Do you like Agatha Christie? Then you'll like this. It's well written, has a twist and a satisfying ending. Not the best mystery you've ever read, but that solid, sturdy middle class kind. I call them good fill-ins between the major novels.
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Everything a good novel should be. Wonderful read!
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A Great Read! One of the best books I've read in a long time! It is a book about a book lover and written for book lovers by a book lover. There are so many layers to this story, you'll want to read it more than once!
Hard to put down and even harder to forget!
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Excellent! Spooky creepy gothic novel written old style. Enjoyed it on audiobook!
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This is one of those books where you find yourself thinking about the story while you're going about your normal life. Very intriguing and hard to put down. Lots of twists and turns - I couldn't tell where the story was going next. I need to give it a re-read to put all the pieces together!
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This was a strange book for me. When I was reading it, I couldn't put it down. But when I stepped away, I wasn't compelled to pick it back up. Because I do read quite often, I still finished it very quickly. I just found the paradox interesting.

I found myself relating to Margaret with respect to her love of books. Even now, I can find myself staying up until 3am on a work night reading a book. What's a little sleep compared to a great book?

Because I do read so much, I tend to see a lot of story lines coming.This story was nice because I couldn't even begin to imagine where things were going. And I loved that!
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Reviewed by K. Osborn Sullivan for TeensReadToo.com

This is a fascinating and rich Gothic mystery about a young Englishwoman who is hired to write the biography of a famous, dying author. The author has always kept her past a secret from her millions of fans, and the biographer is about to find out why. The young woman moves into the old author's home in the remote English countryside, and spends the ensuing weeks compiling details of the author's bizarre and disturbing early years. As the dying author tells that one final tale, her biographer finds herself working through some of her own demons. Interestingly, the biographer's demons at times bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the ones she is writing about for her employer.

THE THIRTEENTH TALE is a modern-day story, but it is written in an old-fashioned, Gothic style that takes its time to reveal its many secrets. It includes all the elements of a classic Gothic novel: a crumbling haunted house, English moors, dense fog, and a young heroine who finds herself in a potentially dangerous situation. It is gripping, at times frightening, and always interesting. I was kept guessing about how the story would eventually be resolved, and was pleased by how skillfully the author pulled all of the pieces together.

My biggest complaint about THE THIRTEENTH TALE is that the main character felt somewhat one-dimensional. It is possible, however, that the characterization might have been intentional. The main character has been damaged by her own past, so maybe this was demonstrated by making her seem less-than-complete. In any case, that is a minor complaint for the book because many of the other characters are so well drawn.

This is an excellent book for readers who like a good, unusual mystery. There was even a happy ending for those characters who were capable of enjoying happy endings. Be warned, though, that this novel is written for adults. Its dreaded "adult themes" include (vague, not graphic) references to incest, sex, and children born out of wedlock, as well as (explicit) mental illness. But if you're willing to overlook those issues, this is a great story and a fascinating mystery for older readers.
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"The Thirteenth Tale" is the story of Margaret Lea recording the story of Vida Winter. Vida Winter is Britian's leading author, and has become famous for the made-up biographies she tells reporters. Vida requests Margaret to come and record her true story before it is too late. As the two delve into the past, they must both confront the future.

Although "The Thirteenth Tale" was a bit graphic in some places, I thought the book was very well written. Setterfield managed to capture my attention, and there were times when I absolutely could not put the book down. There was, however, one subplot that I could have done without. Margaret is obsessed with her twin. Obsessed to the point that other people don't really exist. She spends her life up to this point so pre-occupied with herself and her twin that she forgets to live. It seems she should be able to think and feel other things. Her preoccupation with that annoyed me.

I recommend that you read "The Thirteenth Tale". It blends mystery in with romance, past with present, and questions with more questions and some answers.
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Gripping, easy to follow with surprising twists and turns.
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Good story, different, and combines just a touch of
fantasy.
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Such a wonderful read. This was twisted right up until the end! I plan to read this book many times.
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This book was extemely slow to start. After a few chapters it does pick up. I stuck with it simply because I started it and ended up enjoying the characters and the twist. It was enjoyable, but be prepared that it seems slow at the beginning.
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This is a must read!! Totally engrossing!!
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This book has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf. I keep loaning it out & not getting it back and replacing it.
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Really enjoyed this book a lot. Weaved two stories together and came up with surprise after surprise. Read it.
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I love it when you can tell you are in great hands within the first couple of paragraphs, and that is certainly the case here.Setterfield is a master writer and a great pleasure to read. Her book is in a sense an homage to the Bronte' sisters though not at all derivative. Just a good little story told by a wizard of the craft.
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The way this complicated little story comes together in the end is brilliant! AND I love how she doesn't really reveal the whole story, even in the end. It leaves you to wonder and drives you MADD. I loved it!
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Amazing. This story winds you through the minds and pains of the human experience. Eerie and compelling this is a must read novel.
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Started a little slow for me and I wasn't sure I was voing to like it. Next thing I knew I was totally engrossed and couldn't put it down. Great story telling!
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A great vacation read. A big book club hit too! It only takes a few pages for the author to grab you, and then it is almost impossible to put down. You will find yourself sneaking a few pages at work, and staying up to read just one more chapter. This book promises a twist ending, and it delivers one, although I did find it a little far-fetched.
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This book is a worthy successor to the gothic novels it namechecks - atmospheric and foreboding. The story starts slowly, but quickly gains momentum; I had trouble putting it down at night! Readers who love the gothic genre will love this, but I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted story.
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This story was original and keeps the reader guessing until the end.
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This book was WAY too melodramatic for me. If I were a teen or young adult and hadn't read much, I'd probably like it. But as a well-read 50-something, I found this book trite. What's worse, I didn't care for any of the characters. Setterfield did do a fine job of describing and developing them, so I certainly will remember most, but I simply did not give a hoot about any of them. I guess the main reason is that not a one of them is believable.

NOTE: If you have not yet read Jane Eyre, do so before reading this book. This classic is referred to ad infinitum throughout the text, so it is bound to be frustrating for those who are not acquainted with it.
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If I had tried to read this book instead of listening to it, I don't think I would have finished it. As it was, I almost stopped listening before the end of the first CD but I hung in there and I have to admit, the story finally did drag me into it. It's not one of the best I have ever listened to but neither is it the worst. I tend to have a problem with British stories in general but the accents of the readers weren't at all bad. Mystery, horror, deceit, family history - they all came together quite well.
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Absolutely lyrical reading of the book. The voices were wonderful and made the characters come to life!

A bit of a nail biter as I couldn't flip to the back of the book to see how it ended. There were times I drove around the block to finish listening to a particularly engaging bit of action.

Highly recommend this to anyone who wants a literary mystery that's a bit different.
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I could not put the book down, but I was not enjoying reading it. It was an easy read, but there was something about the writing that did not make it fun, but necessity to read and find out what happened. Odd book! Long, but it does read fast!
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I really enjoyed this book! She could've shortened the book by a couple hundred pages and still told an entertaining story, but it is a good book. This book truly is a page-turner! Once I got into it, I couldn't wait to see how everything was going to turn out! It was hard to put down.
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This is a great book. It was so neat the way the present and past was tied in together. And the ending was satisfying too - did not leave you hanging. It was a different kind of "read" which made it refreshing. 5 stars.
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It took me almost 100 pages to get into this book but once I did I was completely engrossed in the story. It's beautifully written. The past and present are woven together well and it kept me guessing the entire time. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes a good story and I encourage you to stick with it if it's difficult at first.
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A fairy tale for adults,with strange characters and family secrets.Kept me turning the page late into the night:~)
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I'm not sure what I expected when I started reading this book, but most of my reservations disappeared in the face of Setterfield's mesmerizing tale. Her evocative prose created a dreamy, shadowy, real-but-not-real world of books and book lovers, of deceit, love, and the power of stories. There are all the plot twists and turns you'd look for in a Gothic, some of them requiring careful reading to untangle. Of course there were flaws. Sometimes there was too much detail and description, sometimes characters and story tried my patience. In particular, as much as I liked Margaret, her mystical longings were never more than annoying nonsense immaterial to the story. But any flaws I found didn't prevent me from reading and enjoying this one.
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This book was too dreary and bizarre for me to enjoy.
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This is one of those books that I read months ago and now that I think about it, it goes down as not so remember-able. I want to say it was but in truth I just can not.

This book attracted me one because I knew it had to do with a book. Two, because of the dark secrets surrounding the family. The mystery seemed very V.C. Andrews like which is an author I use to love but have grown out of. I thought I would enjoy it much more then I did but the dark secret wasnt that secret. The book hinted a great deal what was to come before it did so the ending was no real surprise.

I agree with many that it is confusing which time period this book takes place. It does hop back and forth from past to present which makes it all the more conflicting.

This is the first book I read from Barnes and Noble recommends list and I think I can see why they picked it. It has a certain style about it. I suppose if you never read any V.C. Andrews the ending might be surprising but to me it was not. I just wasnt impressed with the plot. I was intrigued at first but then quickly got bored. Really wanted to like this book more.
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I read this book in one day, couldn't put it down! It was a great mystery and each chapter left you wanting more. The going back in forth in perspective wasn't a problem at all which I've been finding can be difficult to comprehend. Overall, a great read!
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This book was so well done as an audiobook. I really enjoyed the narrator. The story was very interesting and kept my attention until the unexpected end. I would highly recommend.
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Excellent book. The signs are there for the twist at the end. And though I had a good idea of the twist I didn't gues exactly right. This was a well written enjoyable story. You will easily become invested in the characters.
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Creepy and mysterious. A well written story, that i couldn't put down!
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A 7-hour abridgement read by Ruthie Henshall and Lynn Redgrave

"The Thirteenth Tale is a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and 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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Very interesting, a bit confusing at times but the charachters all get pulled together in the end. strong women characters about an unusual life, and the frailty behind the curtain of everyday reality.
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Oh how I loved this book! The story within a story, the deep love of reading, the strange characters there is good and evil and everything in between. Ive seen this referred to as a Gothic novel and Id have to agree. It just has that *feel* about it, what with a dilapidated old mansion, numerous recluses, and mysterious happenings.

You can read my entire review here.
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This one kept me guessing and entertained on a long car trip. Interesting story and characters.
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I really enjoyed this book. It kept me interested throughout and kept me guessing. I highly recommend it.
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Ghosts who may or may not be ghosts. The moors. Orphans. Insanity. Secrets. The Thirteenth Tale has all the elements of a classic gothic novel, but with a modern setting.

The plot alone would make this book, but Setterfield's detailed imagination and finesse with words makes it a truly worthwhile read. I could not put this book down and I did not see the end coming.
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Great book with a good twist at the ending and intriguing characters. I could not put it down.
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This was a very suspenseful story. I kept trying to figure out the secret that had been kept for so many years. Finally, just before it was revealed, I got it.
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An absorbing novel about a dying author who shares the mystery of her life with a biographer. The author, Vida Winter, beloved for her books, is also known for never providing the same story twice about her background. In her final months of life, she opts to tell the "real" story of her life to Margaret Lea, bookworm extraordinaire, whose first love is researching and (less frequently) writing about historical figures.

I was immediately drawn to the story due to Setterfield's obvious understanding of those who live for a good book. Her descriptions of the bookshop, owned by Margaret's father, and how Margaret cares for the books - even describing the smells of the old volumes, struck a chord with me and made me feel connected to the author.

The convoluted mystery behind Ms. Winter's true identity is delicious! Full of shadows, creaky floorboards, illicit love affairs, lunacy, murder, and ghosts. Setterfield draws it out, story by story, as Ms. Winter's becomes weaker and weaker. Many nights I stayed up well past my bedtime to finish the next chapter. My only complaint was that everything, is tied up just a bit too tidily for me, but at least all the questions are answered, and I like that. Add this one to your TBR list - you won't be disappointed.
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WOW!! Such a great book. To start - I have to be honest. This book is the first book I had to read for a new book club I have joined in my area. Out of all the books they already had planned for the rest of the year, this is the one book I had not heard of nor didn't think I would enjoy. It is kind of out of my usual chick lit that I had been reading.

WELL - loved it. The details of each setting were not overwhelming or over done and the characters were so easy to fall in love with. I am trying to find something to critic, it was just so good. I am headed to Goodreads to find more by Diane because I know that if she kept me intrigued and not confused in this book, I will love more of her.

Usually with books, I whiz through the last 20 or so pages because I have already figured out the ending. I finished this book quickly, but only because I couldn't get enough of it. I was surprised until the last page. This book is by no means predictable.

Who to recommend it to? Umm everyone. I am not sure the men in our lives will enjoy it as much as we ladies would. But yep - on the beach or in the dead of winter - this book is a must read.
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I loved this book! Having finished it, and reading how it ended, I'd love to read it again to pick up some of the signs I must've missed along the way. Did anyone guess the twist?
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Loved this book. Didn't expect the ending.
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I absolutely loved this book. I first listened to it on audio and now just got the book in hardcover for my collection and so I can read it again and again.
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I know I really like a book when I want to read more books by that author and I want to read more by Diane Setterfield! "The Thirteenth Tale" is a good mystery, with Characters you love. A twist at the end was unexpected . I'm currently sharing my copy with neighbors, another indication of a wonderful read.
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This is a great read! A tightly woven mystery within a mystery. Every page contained details to keep me intrigued. Anyone who is a true reader will appreciate and relate to the storyline of this book; and anyone who loves a great suspense-filled story will also enjoy it. This will go on the list as one of my favorites.
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Wonderful and moving tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this storyline. I am a fan of the mystery and thriller genre but am happy that I found this book on PBS. It was a great read and had me enthralled from the moving beginning to the surprise end.
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This was an unexpected delight. Completely captivating, well-written and enchanting. This is a book written by a lover of books for book lovers. The type who can curl up in an overstuffed armchair and let themselves by seduced by mystery, tragic love, human frailty and suspense. Family tragedy, obsession and madness wound up to tell a story within a story.

I highly recommend this to fellow readers who enjoy Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Isabel Allende.
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I adored this book! It's a good mystery, it's a good glimpse into relationships, it's a wonderful love letter to bibliophiles. I will read this again and again and again, and enjoy it every single time.
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I just couldn't put this book down! Great read!
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This engrossing book is a must-read! I zipped through it and enjoyed it thoroughly. An aging author relates a tale to a would-be biographer, resulting in a multi-layered story that is enjoyable on every level.
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A wonderfully woven story of two women - one old and one young, one who loves to write and one who loves to read, but both have secrets in their past, and their relationship benefits both of them tremendously.
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a very twisty tale, but so very natural, not at all forced.
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A very interesting story. I found it hard to put down.
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One of my favorite books. super character development and a wonderful, engaging story. have read it twice and it was our book club favorite too.
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Very fun to read. Quite the page turner.
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An intriging read. Refreshingly different.
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Nice writing style - very smooth and easy to read.
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One of the best books I've read in a long time. I hope to hear more from this new author.
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Beautifully written. Captivating story. Highly recommended. A book lovers book!
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Wonderful prose that really draws you in. Reads a lot like a Victorian or Edwardian Mystery.
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Excellent book! I enjoyed the suspense and history filled throughout. It started off a tad slow but once you get into Ms. Winter's tale the story moves along rather quickly and keeps you thirsting for more!
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Excellent book
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quick read-good book
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Never read. Got by mistake.
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This book made me think all the way through to the end. It's a great read, different and very clever. I enjoyed it very much.
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Need a tale to challenge your mystery skills? Then, this is the one for you. You never see the ending coming.
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This book was the best book I have read in a very long time. A must for any lover of books. It was fast moving and I had difficulty putting it down. Highly recommend!
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I found this book was a little hard to follow, but it had a pretty interesting plot. Not my favorite, but a good read overall.
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A great book! Could hardly put down! A bit dark and gothic with quite a few unexpected twists and turns. Very well written. Would highly recommend.
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A fascinating ghost story. Very well-written with interesting plot twists.
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This was a wonderful book. Ms. Setterfield has a way of telling the story that draws you in and makes you want to know more. Her descriptions of the main characters father's bookstore and the home of the author she writes the biography for makes you feel like you're right there. You can see it in your mind's eye, she's so descriptive. I highly recommend this book.
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I really liked this book. I wanted to know what happened at every turn of the page!
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This book was well written and reminiscent of the old classics. (Bronte sisters)
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I really liked this book. It was quirky but I cared about what happened to the characters an it had a lot of twists and turns.
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we read that book in our book club.
Easy to identify since the heroine is a book reader and follow her dreams. Great story with a lot of twist!
i definitively recommend it!!!
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Thrilling tale with many surprises. I enjoy this book.
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This is my kind of story - mysteries from an earlier time period. Books about book lovers also intrigue me.
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I have to start out by agreeing with almost everyone else, it really starts slow... but that slow start doesn't last too long, and then its hard to put down... I liked Vida very much and found myself wanting to be there myself, however I wouldn't be able to NOT ask questions... Loved it!!!!
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Loved it! Diane Setterfield takes you along for finely crafted tale that deals with twins, lies, passion, devotion...it's all there and you anxiously flip pages as each secret is revealed and you still want to know more. A good old-fashioned suspense story, expertly delivered.
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This book gets you from the beginning, but you don't quite realize it. Before you know it you can't put it down because you are afraid you might miss something. One of the best books I have read in awhile. The twists and turns it takes you down are enthralling, and just when you think you know where it is going, you realize you are totally wrong, and start down another path you didn't know was there. A must read.
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This book is very much a Jane Eyre type of read. The words are so beautiful that even the most distasteful of subjects flow over you like wine. I was just intrigued the whole read. I wish the ending had lasted alittle longer, I would have liked a few more details but it ended the right way. Reminded me also somewhat of 'Crimson Petal and the White' just as engaging. The love for books expressed in this volume is exactly what I try to explain to others about myself.
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The story is that a bookish woman who mostly just works for her father in his rare books-store and assists with memoirs at times is requested by a best-selling author to write her story. This particular author is extremely popular, but has hidden her history extremely well. As she tells her story to the biographer, it brings out some of her personal issues with her mother and her own identity. There is an attempt to create a running theme on the topic of twins and their unique relationship. This aspect did not entirely convince me, but it did not detract from the marvelous story. The writer's story itself was fascinating. It has that slightly strange melancholy quality that reminds me of Bronte novels. Oddly or not, Jane Eyre plays a prominent part of the story. I'm fairly sure that these two facts are not accidental, but I'm not sure I can explain what the author did that elicited this sensation.

Really great story, well told. The writer feeds out the story slowly, providing just the right information at just the right time, reels you in, and then ties up the ending at just the last moment.
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I wasn't sure I was going to like this book after about the first 30 pages, but once I got wrapped up in the mystery of the twins, I couldn't put it down. It kept me engaged until the last few pages where the mysteries were unfolded. A fantastic read.
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All children mythologize their birth......So begins the proloque 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.
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what a treat of a book!
this book is destined to be a classic (even when new)
kind of reminds me of Dickens (Charles)
huge sweeping stories, in huge sweeping houses, about the little details of unusual people's lives.
the copy i read, was over 700 pages(large print) and i kept turning those pages to see what would happen next!
good story telling!
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Margaret is asked to write the life story of the famous author Vida Winters. WHat mysteries will be revealed?
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I really enjoyed listening to this book. I thought the readers were excellent...the story within a story was very interesting. The ending was very good and wrapped
up things well. A very good reading experience.
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I only finished this book because I personally try to finish every book I start to read because I believe they deserve the chance. That is the ONLY reason I finished this book, but there was a fun twist at the end I had not predicted.
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I loved this book! So many times, a plot is mediocre and so predictable. This book was entertaining and kept my attention the whole time!
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A good engaging story that was a great reading.
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This is a GREAT book.
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Loved it! Lots of twists in the plot. Hard to put it down.
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Very good book, peaks your interest as to the end.
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One of my all time favorite books
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This debut novel reminded me of a Charles Dickens book. It is a well-told story that never disappoints its reader in either character development or a plot filled with suspense. I truly couldn't put it down - it is a book to read by the fire long into the night. I hated to see it end because I knew it wouldn't be there waiting for me to read. This is not serious fiction like "Suite Francaise," but it is truly mesmerizing. Diane Setterfield has a true gift that I hope will result in another book very soon.
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I liked this book about tales, both personal and literary. I especially liked how Margaret learned the truth about Vida's life.
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This is not the cover on my book, but it is in Large Print. The Thirteenth Tale is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's a reader's book about reading and writing and books with so many twists and ploys that it mesmerized me. A great read!
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Excellent mystery. Story of a young woman who is asked by an extremely famous mystery writer to come to her mansion to live while writing the authors biography. The author, very old, ill, and dying, is a much beloved and successful mystery writer who has told every interviewer over the years a completely different (and false) version of her origins and past. The true story is an incredible tale that will keep you guessing.
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A perfect 10. On back flap someone described it as 'Pitch Perfect'--I couldn't have said it better. Don't miss this one. Extremely well written, a real page-turner that I couldn't put down, powerful story.
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Fabulous storytelling. I literally could not put this book down...a story in a story in a story. A wonderful weaving of stories with twists and turns that will keep you wondering. Story of sisters and a to-be biographer, but whose story is it really?
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We read this book for ou book club - it was difficult to get going but once into the story it was interesting and hard to put down.
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Very interesting story.
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It moved slowly...
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I couldn't put it down!
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Good book
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Great Book!
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Loved it!
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I thought this book was just ok. I had high expectations of this story that just did not pan out. It's not that I thought it was boring by any means but I was unimpressed with the ending. I won't give away what happens but it is a theme that I think is becoming somewhat common.
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Very good. Several stories combined and intertwined.
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I loved this book!
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Narrators are Bianca Amato as Margaret Lea and jill Tanner as Vilda Winter. Unabridged on 14 CDs.