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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale

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Lovereading Debut of the Year 2007.
Margaret Lea is approached by a world famous author, Vida Winter, to undertake her biography. Both their stories unfold with the book, beautifully told with a strong relationship developing between them. It’s a tale of real drama, only the author has spent her life inventing stories and, as a biographer, Margaret has to find the truth. This is a very fine novel indeed.

If you like Diane Setterfield you might also like to read books by Susan Hill, Ian Mcewan and Audrey Niffenegger.

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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Vida Winter, a bestselling yet reclusive novelist, has created many outlandish life histories for herself, all of them invention. Now old and ailing, at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to biographer Margaret Lea - a woman with secrets of her own - is a summons.

Vida's tale is one of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family: the beautiful and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling, but as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction and she doesn't trust Vida's account.

As she begins her researches, two parallel stories unfold. Join Margaret as she begins her journey to the truth - hers, as well as Vida's.


'Beautifully written and highly intelligent. Blissful escapism for literate (and literary) females who love an old-fashioned story' THE TIMES

'A real treat...Like all the best first novels, this one seems to bulge with a lifetime's hoarded inspirations. Setterfield litters the book with references to nineteenth-century gothic literature and other meta-textual winks and nudges. The effect is of a lit-crit parlour game, which only adds to the fun' TIME OUT

'Whimsical, moving and consciously nostalgic, Diane Setterfield knows the limits of enchantment, even as she tries to break them' TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

'Setterfield proves a mistress of the craft of storytelling and her musings about the pleasures of reading are beguiling' GUARDIAN

About the Author

Diane Setterfield

Born in Berkshire, Diane Setterfield was educated at Theale Green Comprehensive School and Bristol University. Her degree in French literature led her to teach in universities in England and France, where she lived for several years. Diane's previous publications have been in the field of 19th and 20th century French literature, specialising in the writings of André Gide. After returning to the UK, Diane ran a business teaching French to those intending to live in France. She lives in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, with her husband.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st November 2007


Diane Setterfield

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Orion Publishing Co


480 pages


Thriller / Suspense
Debuts of the Month
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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