The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel (Paperback)
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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.
About the Author
Diane Setterfield is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale, and a former academic, specializing in twentieth-century French literature, particularly the works of Andre Gide. She lives in Oxford, England.
"Eerie and fascinating."
— USA Today
— Entertainment Weekly
"A book that you wake in the middle of the night craving to get back to . . . . Timeless, charming, a pure pleasure to read . . . . The Thirteeth Tale is a book to savor a dozen times."
— The San Diego Union-Tribune
"A wholly original work told in the vein of all the best gothic classics. Lovers of books about book lovers will be enthralled."
"The shared literary landscape that The Thirteenth Tale re-creates with lush precision takes us back to a time when reading could seem more compelling than life."
— The Columbus Dispatch
"A spellbinding story that grabs the reader from the opening pages."
— Toronto Sun
"Setterfield proves a mistress of the craft of storytelling, and her musings about the pleasures of reading are most beguiling."
— The Guardian
"Readers will feel the magnetic pull of this paean to words, books and the magical power of story."
"This will without a doubt be one of the best books published this year."
— Daily American
"Readers will be mesmerized by this story-within-a-story tinged with the eeriness of Rebecca and the willfulness of Jane Eyre. The author . . . . leaves no strand untucked at the surprising and satisfying conclusion."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Setterfield is remarkably gifted, and the book is a page-turner. Readers should heed one warning: Prepare to be so captivated by the story that you cannot put it down. Not even for a cuppa tea."
— The Roanoke Times
"A novel for book lovers."
— Reader's Digest
"A novel brimming with atmosphere and labyrinthine plotting that recalls the gothic-like chillers by Daphne du Maurier and Joyce Carol Oates, spiced with flavors reminiscent of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. The language is rich, the elements intriguing."
— The Sacramento Bee
"A compelling and emotional mystery about family secrets and the magic of books and storytelling, and it captures you right from the very first page."
— The Financial Times
"Cleverly plotted, beautifully written . . . . A remarkable first novel, a book about the joy of books, a riveting multi-layered mystery that twists and turns, and weaves a quite magical spell."
— The Independent (UK)