The Thirteenth Tale

A Novel

The Thirteenth Tale

  • 2
Studious biographer Margaret Lea is shocked when she receives a letter from renowned novelist, Vida Winter. The inimitable Winter is aging and ill, and she beseeches Margaret to come to her home and hear her story. It is the unforgettable tale of the doomed and beautiful Angelfield family, and Lea is immediately as captivated by the account as she is by her extraordinary storyteller. But she is also skeptical, and becomes determined to discover how much of this tragic story is real. As Margaret gets closer to ascertaining the truth, she must also reconcile her own hidden family secrets. Beautifully atmospheric and haunting, this inspired first novel is reminiscent of classic works such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and is certain to take its place among them as a timeless masterpiece.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • 14 disks | 
  • ISBN 9780743581608 | 
  • October 2008
List Price $24.99
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Diane Setterfield: Thirteenth Tale

Set in Yorkshire, England, this richly atmospheric story-within-a-story will keep you guessing until the end.

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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide

The Thirteenth Tale
By Diane Setterfield

Margaret Lea works in her father's antiquarian bookshop where her fascination for the biographies of the long-dead has led her to write them herself. She gets a letter from one of the most famous authors of the day, the mysterious Vida Winter, whose popularity as a writer has been in no way diminished by her reclusiveness. Until now, Vida has toyed with journalists who interview her, creating outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them invention. Now she is old and ailing, and at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to Margaret is a summons.
Somewhat anxiously, the equally reclusive Margaret travels to Yorkshire to meet her subject. Vida's strange, gothic tale features the Angelfield family; dark-hearted Charlie and his unbrotherly obsession with his sister, the fascinating, devious, and willful Isabelle, and Isabelle's daughters, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret is captivated by the power of Vida's storytelling, but she doesn't entirely trust Vida's account. She goes to check up on the family, visiting their old home and piecing together their story in her own way. What she discovers on her journey to the truth is for Margaret a chilling and transforming experience.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Much of the novel takes place in two
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About the Author

Diane Setterfield
Photo Credit:

Diane Setterfield

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 Yorkshire, England.