A Review of The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth TaleI may have started it more than a month and a half ago, but I have finally finished The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield on audio. This is a milestone! It’s my first audiobook completed on my mom’s list and it was definitely a different experience. It took longer, was consumed in smaller chunks, and required a little more concentration, but all in all it was a success.

The Thirteenth Tale is really a tale about people who love books. One of the main characters, Margaret Lea, grew up in her father’s bookstore and treasures books as if they were her best friends. The other main character is a famous writer whose life has been draped in mystery. Of course, a book just about people loving books would be no good book at all. Fortunately, The Thirteenth Tale packs much more punch than that with a captivating plot. Because of an essay Margaret once wrote about brothers, the writer, Vida Winter, commissions Margaret to take on her biography. Although Vida has always lied to the press about her past, she promises to finally tell the truth when she unravels her story to Margaret.

What follows is a complicated tale of sisters, deception and, of course, books. In some parts, I felt Setterfield dwelled too much on certain topics that were not of as much interest to me, but then I would come across a section where things moved quickly and important discoveries were suddenly revealed. I found myself having more than one “driveway” moment as they call it in the audiobook world. But, since I don’t drive to work, instead of sitting in the driveway unable to turn off the audiobook, I had more of a “couch” moment where I found myself home from work and compelled to just sit on the couch listening until the part I was on finished.

I believe the narrators, Bianca Amato and Jill Tanner, played a big part in the success of The Thirteenth Tale audiobook. The story is set in England, so it only makes sense that it would be read by narrators who can sound British and there’s just something about that accent. I could listen to it all day. And, since the story is told in two voices, having two literal voices really helped differentiate who’s perspective I was hearing.

The story combined with the production created a great experience. I would recommend The Thirteenth Tale in any format.

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