Author(s): Diane Setterfield
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.
THE THIRTEENTH TALE was a New York Times No.1 bestseller - a first for a British debut novel. The book was won in a massive auction in the UK and rights have been sold all over the world for record sums. Heyday Films have bought the film rights. THE THIRTEENTH TALE has received incredible reviews: 'Simply brilliant - I haven't enjoyed a first novel so much for absolutely ages' Kate Mosse. 'A remarkable first novel ... a riveting multi-layered mystery that twists and turns, and weaves a quite magical spell' Independent. 'Vastly entertaining' Daily Mail. 'This is an excellent emotional mystery which I found harder to put down every night!' Woman's Own. 'Setterfield proves a mistress of the craft of storytelling' Guardian. 'Beautifully written' The Times. 'A real treat ... like all the best first novels, this one seems to bulge with a lifetime's hoarded inspirations' Time Out (Book of the Week). 'Compelling page-turner' Woman and Home. 'A remarkably compelling debut ... extraordinary, unusual and atmospheric ... The plot is razor sharp' Scotland on Sunday. 'Start reading this on the bus and, I swear, you won't only miss your stop, you might even lose the whole day' Cosmopolitan.
Winner of Yorkshire Book of the Year 2007. Shortlisted for British Book Awards: Newcomer of the Year 2007.
"A fireside mystery with all the grisly trimmings" -- Catherine Shoard Evening Standard "This surprise bestseller is an enjoyably windswept story of incest, unnatural love and northern nastiness" -- Emma Hagestadt INDEPENDENT "highly accomplished...intriguing twists galore" -- Katie Owen Daily Telegraph "a captivating read" FIRST "A firesdie mystery with all the grisly trimmings" LONDON LITE "An involving and engrossing tale full of twists and turns...hard to put down!" My Weekly "riveting from start to finish" THE LADY
Diane Setterfield is in her early forties. Having spent time in France, she now lives in Harrogate. THE THIRTEENTH TALE is her first novel.