Winner of the 2007 Audie Award for Literary Fiction and Finalist for Multi-Voiced Performance
Instant #1 New York Times bestseller
“Readers will feel the magnetic pull of this paean to words, books and the magical power of story.”—People
“Eerie and fascinating.”—USA TODAY
Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
With its dramatic family mystery and gothic feel, The Thirteenth Tale makes us think of a modern-day Charlotte Brontë novel. Diane Setterfield’s debut follows Margaret Lea, who has always been more of a watcher than a doer, contentedly working in her father’s rare bookshop. But Margaret’s tranquil life is upended when the famously private author Vida Winter unexpectedly invites the quiet bookworm to write her biography. Discovering the truth about Vida is trickier than it seems, and Margaret soon finds herself sorting through a dark, ever-unfolding mystery. We loved following Margaret’s attempts to unsnarl the knotty threads of Vida’s past—all leading up to a shocking revelation. Setterfield’s lush prose and dramatic plot twists are old-school gothic fun, and that deliciously overripe mood is captured beautifully by actresses Lynn Redgrave and Ruthie Henshall. From family ghosts to forbidden love, listening to this story is an unforgettable experience.