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The Thirteenth Tale Paperback – 10 September 2019

4.4 out of 5 stars 3,200 ratings

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Product details

  • Publisher : Orion; 1st edition (10 September 2019)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 480 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1409192954
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1409192954
  • Dimensions : 13 x 3.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 3,200 ratings

Product description

Review

Cleverly plotted, beautifully written homage to the classic romance mystery novel...It is 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 ― INDEPENDENT

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

This bold, unusual debut is, as a Jane Austen character might have said, a vastly entertaining fiction ― DAILY MAIL

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

Guiltily enjoyable ― MAIL ON SUNDAY

A witty, entertaining and very satisfying read ― SPECTATOR

Make yourself a mug of cocoa and shut the curtains tight - a generous helping of gothic delight is about to be served ― DAILY EXPRESS

A remarkably compelling debut...This is an extraordinary, unusual and atmospheric story with a sense of timelessness about it. It is rare to be able to smell a book as well as read it, but this one is steeped in the aroma of old houses in remote places with strange faded furnishings and little natural light. It will appeal to anybody with a love of literature and a passion for the feel and smell of old books ― SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

Review

A remarkable first novel . . . a riveting multi-layered mystery that twists and turns, and weaves a quite magical spell - Independent

Vastly entertaining - Daily Mail

An excellent emotional mystery which I found harder to put down every night! - Women's Own

Setterfield proves a mistress of the craft of storytelling - Guardian

Beautifully written - The Times

A compelling page-turner - Woman & Home

A remarkably compelling debut . . . extraordinary, unusual and atmospheric. The plot is razor-sharp - Scotland on Sunday

A real treat . . . like all the best first novels, this one seems to bulge with a lifetime's hoarded inspirations - Time Out

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
3,200 global ratings
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Top reviews from Australia

Reviewed in Australia on 8 August 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

WhatCathyReadNext
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric historical mystery with a Gothic feel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 November 2018
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43 people found this helpful
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The booktrail
5.0 out of 5 stars Gothic tale set in Yorkshire
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 June 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gothic tale set in Yorkshire
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 June 2019
There’s lots to love about this book:

Set in a gothic house
Huge gardens with mysterious paths
Rural
An elderly author lives there as recluse
A biographer is invited to come and interview her about books…
The house has secrets in its walls…

This is one gripping and very visual novel. I’ve seen the adaptation on the TV but the book is so much more immersive and gothic. I would even say the mystery, sense of foreboding and gothic overtones consumed me whilst reading and I felt chills and thrills I’ve never felt before.
At its heart is a family mystery, one that weaves and wanders its way through your heart and the pages until its flourishing and wonderful reveals. It’s a book about the love of books, the wonder of reading and stories across time so any bibliophile out there is going to drink it in.
Vida Winters, the author in the story writes a letter (a handwritten letter!)to a biographer Margaret Lea as she finally wants to tell the truth. The truth about the house, family, stories and secrets within.
Margaret is intrigued about one book the author has written called
 Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation,but this only contains twelve stories... where is the thirteenth tale? (Cue chills on the back of my neck)

I don’t know why I haven’t reviewed it until now. Maybe I felt the time was right to revisit as I’ve just read it for the Nth time. This house, these characters are where I like to go and visit from time to time when I feel I need time alone.
Especially when there are lines like this:

“Books are, for me, it must be said, the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child, books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books. It is not a yearning that one ever expects to be fulfilled.”
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23 people found this helpful
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Rae Else
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 April 2017
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22 people found this helpful
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LHG
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 August 2018
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11 people found this helpful
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Siltone
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling at its very best!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 February 2020
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