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The Thirteenth Tale

Average Rating 4
( 1649 )
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5 Star

(904)

4 Star

(437)

3 Star

(170)

2 Star

(75)

1 Star

(63)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

26 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

Loved the Twists and Turns!

I read this book for our book club. It was captivating after the first 30 pages or so. The writing style is beautiful and it kept me wondering throughout the book. I usually can figure out the twists and mysteries as I read- but this was really different and fascinating...
I read this book for our book club. It was captivating after the first 30 pages or so. The writing style is beautiful and it kept me wondering throughout the book. I usually can figure out the twists and mysteries as I read- but this was really different and fascinating to the end!
My book club loved it as well. It was really interesting discussing it and most of us went home and read it again!

posted by PDee on February 11, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

27 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

Wordy...unable to enjoy.

I read the first several pages and found myself suffocated by the author's extravagant application of words. Her philosophy appears to be: why use a few well chosen words to convey an idea when twenty words can be crammed into the sentence instead? I imagined the auth...
I read the first several pages and found myself suffocated by the author's extravagant application of words. Her philosophy appears to be: why use a few well chosen words to convey an idea when twenty words can be crammed into the sentence instead? I imagined the author as an acquaintance endeavoring to tell a story aloud, and myself having to stifle the urge to interrupt and ask her to get to the point. I skipped ahead to the middle of the book and discovered the same wordy trend. I do love a big fat book, but only if the content justifies the length of the manuscript as a whole, as well as that of its descriptions and dialogue. In reading, as in most things, less can be more. Too much chattiness, and my interest wanes. But that is my opinion and not a universal perception. If you enjoy verbosity or simply have more patience, this could be a good read for you.

posted by kepcmari on July 19, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    Wordy...unable to enjoy.

    I read the first several pages and found myself suffocated by the author's extravagant application of words. Her philosophy appears to be: why use a few well chosen words to convey an idea when twenty words can be crammed into the sentence instead? I imagined the author as an acquaintance endeavoring to tell a story aloud, and myself having to stifle the urge to interrupt and ask her to get to the point. I skipped ahead to the middle of the book and discovered the same wordy trend. I do love a big fat book, but only if the content justifies the length of the manuscript as a whole, as well as that of its descriptions and dialogue. In reading, as in most things, less can be more. Too much chattiness, and my interest wanes. But that is my opinion and not a universal perception. If you enjoy verbosity or simply have more patience, this could be a good read for you.

    27 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2009

    Loved the Twists and Turns!

    I read this book for our book club. It was captivating after the first 30 pages or so. The writing style is beautiful and it kept me wondering throughout the book. I usually can figure out the twists and mysteries as I read- but this was really different and fascinating to the end!<BR/>My book club loved it as well. It was really interesting discussing it and most of us went home and read it again!

    26 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2006

    THE NEW GREATEST BESTSELLER

    Some books get a 'WOW', some books get a 'spectacular', and some books just defy any term to describe the powerful emotions one feels after finishing the last word, on the last page of a book. THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield is just one of those 'once every so often' powerhouse reads!!! Combine the atmosphere and timeless style of a classic Bronte's' JANE EYRE, or any Charles Dickens's novel. Mix in the new creativity of the more recent bestsellers, Carlos Ruiz Zafon's THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, Gregory Maguire's WICKED, and Audrey Niffenegger's THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE. Finally add the wonderment of a tale of Cinderella's child, or any other tale that has yet to be told. AND----You may just rise to the level of Setterfield's THE THIRTEENTH TALE!! This is a magical tale, unlike any other, about a young girl, Margaret Lea, who is living and working in an antiquarian books store with her loving father and emotionally absent mother. She is called upon to fulfill the request of writing the 'true' biography of the singularly fanciful , morbidly mysterious, and ever illusive popular tale writer, Vita Winter. Both women seemed to have tragically lost a twin, and maintain a flair for the dramatic in their thoughts and actions. As Margaret visits Miss Winter to listen to her life story and pursue her mission for Miss Winter, a most exciting and unique tale emerges. Similar to many fairy tales, yet eerie in its emerging truths, Setterfield creates a story of her own that will keep readers and book clubs breathless for more and more!! This book is such an all encompassing read because it engages the senses, the intellect, and the emotions. Reading the last word on the last page is both joyful and heartbreaking. A wonderfully, complete story has emerged but there is a real taste for needing more and more for the reader. The mysterious lives and incidents in these two women's stories ebbed ,and grew, and flowered in my mind with an all consuming passion until I felt that I knew them as completely as I know myself. As Diane Setterfield says through Vita Winters--'Everyone has a story'--and as promised, Setterfield tells a stupendous one in her book, THE THIRTEENTH TALE. How can this possible be a first time story by this author? Readers will finish this book and be impatiently awaiting a new one from her immediately!!!

    18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2010

    Loved it!

    What a fantastic book written with the atmosphere of a different age. If you are a fan of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, etc. (and who isn't) you simply MUST read this engaging novel. It pulled me completely in and I felt just like Margaret--never wanting to leave the world and companionship of my newfound friends at Angelfield. More please, Ms. Setterfield!

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2009

    a great read

    Once I started reading this book I found that I kept looking for time to read it. It was a little slow out of the gate but once I got thru the first couple of chapters it really took off. Good for younger readers also.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not for Everyone

    The novel attracted me by its synopsis and the strong reviews posted by many readers who referred to it as interesting, imaginative and an exciting blend of classics and contemporary fiction.... reminiscent of a classic British novel...I have to admit I am not a fan of classics but a change can sometimes be refreshing. The premise has its merits: a high profile novelist Vida Winter wants her autobiography written before she dies and summons Margaret Lea, an unknown writer who is presently working in her father's book store to record her words. Margaret readily accepted the invitation, she sees similarities to her own deep secrets.....The story sounds simple enough ... Once started, Vida tells multilayered tales, stories within stories, tragedy upon tragedy some mixed with romance. The characters become lost in a ever lasting story and return for an encore..... to top it, some even manage to do whatever again in other characters' stories.... Have I lost you along the way ... not surprising... It was hard to keep my mind open and stop it from wandering, I got lost(bored) many times while trying to comprehend this convoluted tale. What a novel, melodrama on top of melodrama, a bouillabaisse of mysteries one hard to follow where place is important (on a Yorkshire Estate) and time irrelevant (19th, 20th, 21st century, today, tomorrow???) I simply had to skip through some paragraphs and speed read others. It was such a tedious read that I am still wondering why I lost so much time ....To finish my ranting, I also hated the characterization seems the only thing on their minds was a cup of cocoa , they were not very memorable..... Ok don't take my word, I am in the minority disliking this novel most enjoyed it immensely, so give it a try, see if you agree or disagree, we will see which side of the fence you fall on when you fall asleep.....

    12 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A beautifully written book.

    I loved this book and immediately bought a copy for my sister. The use of language is marvelous. The plot is original and the characters are facinating. I hope the author , Diane Setterfield, will write more books.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2010

    Keeps you guessing from beginning to end!

    The start was not a quick read. But less than an eighth of the way into it, it grasped me! The characters were seamlessly intertwined. Just when you think you know, the story becomes more mysterious until the very end. In part tragic, otherwise a great read.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A uniquely thrilling tale.

    Another book I happened to see on the B&N website that seemed to come highly recommended. I am always interested in a good ghost story, so I decided to give it a shot and was definitely pleased! The main character is well introduced and easy enough to relate to which makes it all the more interesting to uncover Ms. Winter's secrets with her. There are so many unexpected twists and turns in her tale that, even as someone who is rarely caught off guard, I was surprised at some of the directions the story takes. The morals of most of the characters involved are definitely questionable, but that seems to only make it all the more interesting to read!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    POWERFUL, ENTERTAINING TALE!

    I second all the five star reviews!!! UNFORGETTABLE!! BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN! A JOY TO READ! Another book I recently finished that left me wanting more was EXPLOSION IN PARIS by LINDA MASEMORE PIRRUNG....LOVED IT!!!! Check out the reviews! That's what hooked ME!!

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    FABBBB!!!! Modern Gothic Fiction, Murder Mystery & Intrigue

    "The Thirteenth Tale" is a booklover¿s delight of gothic fiction, murder mystery and intrigue rolled into one compulsively addictive novel. Overtones of a modern-day "Jane Eyre" and "The Woman in White" haunt Diane Setterfield¿s work of compelling suspense, and like these hallowed predecessors (which the main characters mention as two of their favorite books, by the way), will have readers flying through the pages, mentally trying to solve the multi-level puzzles before the author so deftly and satisfyingly does for them. I only wish more books were this well written and this thought-provoking.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    Great twists and turns!

    Our book club read this as our thirteenth and final title of the year where every single person thoroughly enjoyed it (16 members) and agreed it was the perfect mysterious tale to conclude with. The characters are captivating and the family secrets are divulged with perfect timing. The rhythm of the story is soothing, but the content is provocative. It's one of those stories you are driven to continue reading way past bedtime! The book club discussion was interesting because the plot lends itself to a variety of interpretations developed through the imagination of each reader. It's staying on my bookshelf to enjoy again in the future!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2009

    Amazing

    This book is one of the best books I've ever read. Its suspenseful and surprising and it challenges your mind to understand its frightful details. It's probably not the best for children though, due to its adult topics and there are a couple of gory scenes within. Although quite disturbing this book is a great read and I love the authors style.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Sorry

    But I didn't like this book. I had a really hard time getting through it. I did want to know the end, but I didn't want to go through it to find out (even though I did). Some people (and obviously do) might like it, if they are into dark, gothic literature, but it wasn't for me.

    8 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2009

    One of the Best!

    This was one of the best books I've read in a long time. After I finished reading it the first time I wanted to read it again to see what I missed the first time.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2006

    Not that great for all the hype!!

    There is alot of hype on this website and others about this book and I was looking very much forward to reading this over a couple of nights and it was very disappointing. The thirteenth tale was the most disappointing of all. The writer strings the reader along and jumps the main character all over the place only to disappoint the reader in the end. Don't waste your money or time on this one.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Too many leaps and bounds.

    My headline refers to the fact that I felt some of the revelations came from out of left field--not in a surprising way, but with justification that just didn't make sense. Also, I did not care for the behavior of some of the characters (which is all I can say without giving things away).

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2006

    Too Much Hype

    I was disappointed in this book. I think it has a lot to do with the hype that Barnes & Noble gave it. It was slow and it took a long time for anything to happen. Wouldn't recommend it.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    Very Disappointing

    I had high expectations of this book due to the raving review and recommendation from Barnes and Noble. I must say I was extremely disappointed. I was expecting a suspenseful ghost story similar to 'Rebecca'. Instead I was given a poorly written book that was very far fetched. The ghost was just thrown in there towards the end of the book. It was also difficult to get a feel for many of the characters in the story. The author just skimmed over many of them making it feel rushed and unnatural. I found it very easy to put this book down and hard to finish.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    disappointing

    I had high hopes when I began this book. The plot had seemed to show itself during the first two chapters although never took shape, the plot was never revealed. The author dragged on with so many useless details leading me to pray for a reason to keep reading. Painstakingly I had to see it thru to the end because I will never start a book and not finish it.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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