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Dramatic,
Interesting,
Dark

8 reviews

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
by Diane Setterfield

Published: 2013-06-18
Paperback : 416 pages
19 members reading this now
320 clubs reading this now
28 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 8 of 8 members
Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father's antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story ...
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Introduction

Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father's antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise–she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.

Late one night, while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.
 
As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story. In the end, both women have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets. As well as the ghosts that haunt them still.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Would you shoot the guy controling the conveyor if he's about to burn this book?
by [email protected] (see profile) 05/12/17

Who's bones were discoverd in the library during the demolition?
by jmcclellan (see profile) 01/12/15

Margaret/her dead twin...quite interesting.
The crazy twins...lots of investigating there.
by dbuchman (see profile) 08/10/14

How this book is similar to/different from other gothic novels
The importance of books throughout the novel
The themes of loss and family secrets
by Lauramay (see profile) 03/26/14

The book group notes and questions at the back were great points of discussion
by Sallyliz (see profile) 07/17/12

If you could change one thing about the mail character, what would it be and why?
Were you surprised at any time in the book?
Could you see yourself in the position of any of the characters?
by cherylwilliams5 (see profile) 10/18/11

What did you think of the time/place of this book? What clues were given?
by RFritz (see profile) 06/11/11

Do you think Isabelle left to protect Charlie because she knew she was pregnant?
Do you think the author has ideas for a sequel?
Do you believe Vida told the truth or do you think it all is another one of her great stories?
by readingisgreat (see profile) 04/30/09

The book hinted at an inappropriate relationship between Charlie and Isabelle. Do you think the twins were born from that relationship or do you think Isabelle's husband was the children's father?
by Lori_Dabbondanza (see profile) 04/30/09

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by mel29 (see profile) 02/24/18

 
by ksdarling71 (see profile) 02/22/18

 
by becelise (see profile) 01/12/18

 
by hkbarker (see profile) 10/14/17

 
by Sescilj (see profile) 06/22/17

 
by [email protected] (see profile) 05/12/17

The book is in many ways absurd and illogical. e.g. The fire scene was preposterous. Why did Miss Winter bother replacing the baby with a bolster? She already knew that Adeline was capable of burning the... (read more)

 
by elm7597 (see profile) 05/10/17

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