The Thirteenth Tale


Author:  Diane Setterfield

Title:  The Thirteenth Tale

Genre:  Adult books for young adults: Gothic fiction

Publication Date:  2006

Number of Pages:  406

Geographical Setting:  England, Yorkshire, Banbury

Time Period:  Timeless

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary:

Vita Winter is a well-known author who has written over fifty novels, yet no one knows the truth about who she is.  She enlists the help of a biographer, Margaret Lea, and finally begins to tell the story of her life.  Vita relates the tale of the Angelfield family, which is tragic from the dysfunctional relationships of Isabelle and Charlie, the twins Adeline and Emmaline and the ghost and servants that inhabit and haunt the mansion.  While Vita is relating the ghosts of her past, Margaret has to come to terms with the secrets of her past.  It is dark, compelling, tragic story that hooks the reader from the very beginning, much like Vita’s books are described.  The story alternates between the flashbacks of Vita’s story and the life of Margaret Lea and what she uncovers through her research.  There are an abundance of literary references, which are woven seamlessly into the story.

Subject Headings:  Women authors, Storytellers, Family Secrets, Twins, Ghosts, Booksellers, Books and Reading


Atmospheric, creepy, compelling, intricately plotted, emotionally charged, suspenseful, well-developed, intriguing, tragic, well-crafted, literary references, timeless

3 terms that best describe this book:

Compelling, timeless, intricately plotted

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Twins David Fields(explores relationships of Twins)

The Glass Castle Jeanette Walls (Explores dysfunctional family, caring for

oneself as a child)

England’s Thousand Best Houses Simon Jenkins (Houses of England by county, house is an important piece of the book)

Reading matters: five centuries of discovering books Margaret Willies (Explores book selling, reading tastes, English literature, main components in book)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Ghostwalk Rebecca Stott ( Tale about secrets, biographers,supernatural)

The distant hours Kate Morton (gothic fiction, tale of twins and family secrets)

The Turn of the Screw Henry James (Character driven, creepy, atmospheric)

Name:  Sara Bartels

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