Lynne Redgrave Haunts The Thirteenth Tale

Summer has flown by! So fast, in fact, I cannot believe how long it has been since I posted here. But excuses are like… well, you know.

Though I have a couple drafts of books I have read, I am going to post quickly about an audiobook I listened to on a recent road trip.

While listening to an audiobook on a road trip, I prefer a book with more than one narrator. No matter how talented the reader, having at least two voices helps keep me focused while I drive. When I came across The Thirteenth Tale I knew I had read the book when it came out- I have the Advanced Reader’s Copy somewhere- but could not remember all the details. Because Lynne Redgrave was one of the readers, I decided to revisit the story.

If you have not read The Thirteenth Tale and you enjoy atmospheric suspense, literature with a Gothic feel, or just a page turner that keeps you guessing until the end, this book has it all.

Margaret, a young woman who works in her father’s bookshop, receives a letter from the famous, and infamous, author Vida Winter. Winter is notorious for giving interviews about her past before becoming a successful writer- each interview tells an entirely different story. In her letter, Margaret is told Winter wants to finally tell the truth.

After an emotional first meeting at Vida Winter’s estate, Margaret agrees to write the biography- with a couple stipulations. Winter’s twisted, tragic tale interlaced with Margaret’s own struggles to deal with the memory of her dead twin are spellbinding and macabre.

It was not until after I listened to the entire set that I realized it was an abridged version. That said, I didn’t feel like anything was missing. It had been years since I read the book, but Lynne Redgrave gave Vida Winter a more compelling voice than I had imagined when I first read it. Her tone was sharp and sincere and captured the rigid, old fashioned tone of the character, yielding to difficult expression of emotion as needed. Ruthie Henshall gave a stellar performance as Margaret, too. She captured Margaret’s intelligence, but also weakness, but did not make her meek or spineless. She was confused, thoughtful, clever, and compassionate as called for by the story.

If you have never read the book, this abridged audiobook might not be ideal, but it is a masterful reading with narrators who will have you hanging on their every word.

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