Once Upon a River
Mr B's review
A mystery that is both heart-poundingly tense and beautifully written. Set in the late 1800’s, it is utterly captivating, unguessable and has an extraordinary twist following a plot that winds like the Thames through the stories told by vibrantly written characters. Their lives and lies begin to unravel when a drowned girl, brought to the riveside inn where these storytellers weave their tales, miraculously comes back to life.
‘Infused with the spirit of Jane Eyre, Rebecca and The Woman in White’ – Independent
‘I was completely spellbound’ – Ruth Hogan
‘A delight…I devoured it’ – Jo Baker
‘Truly extraordinary’ – Dinah Jeffries
Some say the river drowned her…Some say it brought her back to life
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames, the regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open and in steps an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a child.
Hours later, the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.
Is it a miracle?
Is it magic?
And who does the little girl belong to?
An exquisitely crafted multi-layered mystery brimming with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.
“Diane’s masterful storytelling draws you in to a beguiling tale, full of twists and turns like the river at its heart, and just as rich and intriguing.” (M L Stedman, bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans)
“Swift and entrancing, profound and beautiful. Give yourself a treat and read it!” (Madeline Miller, Orange Prize-winning author of The Song of Achilles and Circe)
“A story, no matter how cleverly it is structured, lives or dies on the vividness of its characters. Setterfield, a true storyteller, makes us care about all her players in this beguiling novel.” * The Times * “Exploring themes of storytelling, parenthood, science and society on the cusp of change, this is a richly evocative novel.” * Observer * “Diane Setterfield’s debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale, came out in 2006 to wide acclaim. She made her mark by delivering her own take on the classic romantic mystery novel, infused with the spirit of Jane Eyre, Rebecca and The Woman in White. Once Upon a River continues to demonstrate her mastery of the Gothic genre in a way that will appeal to modern readers…Setterfield knows how to make the words sing. It is worth taking a journey down the Thames with her.” * Independent * “Once Upon a River is magical, in every which way…it’s the power of her storytelling that allows readers to suspend disbelief, and draws them through each tangled, dazzling chapter…This riverine novel has the mood and feel of a ghost story told late into the night, and will win over readers who enjoy a touch of age-old enchantment.” * Financial Times * “I was completely spellbound by this book. Numerous strands of the same story are skilfully woven into a magical web from which I, as a reader, had no desire to escape. Setterfield’s prose is beautiful, dark and eerily atmospheric, and her rich cast of characters convincingly illustrate the best and worst of humanity. Utterly brilliant!” — Ruth Hogan,bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things
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