Once Upon A River

Once Upon A River

eBook - 2018
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"From bestselling author Diane Setterfield, a new mystery as gorgeous, spellbinding and addictively readable as her blockbuster debut The Thirteenth Tale. Solstice is a time of dreaming, a time of stories and a time of magic. On a dark, misty night in the small English village of Radcot, locals gather at the Swan Inn to cap their day with drinks and lore. The 600-year-old pub is a famed hub for storytellers, but the patrons cannot know that their evening will be stranger than any tale they could weave. Into the inn bursts a mysterious man, sopping and bloodied and carrying an unconscious four-year-old girl. But before he can explain who he and the child are, and how they came to be injured, he collapses. Upriver, two families are searching desperately for their missing daughters. Alice Armstrong has been missing for twenty-four hours, ever since her mother's suicide. And Amelia Vaughn vanished without a trace two years prior. When the families learn of the lost little girl at the Swan Inn, each wonders if their child has at last been found. But identifying the child may not be as easy as it seems. Once Upon a River is a miracle of a novel, a tale of love and family, of secrets and betrayal, and of the transformative power of storytelling."--
Publisher: Toronto :, Bond Street Books,, 2018
ISBN: 9780307367945
Branch Call Number: e-book
Characteristics: 1 online resource (432 pages)
Alternative Title: Library2Go


From Library Staff

Different pubs have different specialties; the Swan is known for its storytelling. Set on the Thames, an injured stranger enters the pub one dark winter night holding the drowned body of a child in his arms. When the mute girl stirs to life, the stories begin. Who is she? Where did she come from?... Read More »

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LPL_ShirleyB Jul 27, 2020

An immersive, mythical, twisty & hopeful tale of community, storytelling and mystery that is rooted on the River Thames.
It's a book I would love to discuss in a book club.

mabrazeau Apr 14, 2020

The beautiful writing, intriguing plot and interesting construction of this book kept me asking for more. I absorbed it at the cost of sleep. Its magic stays with you - I have been replaying certain moments in my head for the last two weeks.

Although the story and its conclusion are very satisfying, I was disappointed by the epilogue which felt like it was written by someone else. I would still recommend reading this novel.

Apr 07, 2020

Really good story telling. It's sad and sweet and funny. It's a folk tale and a bit of historical fiction together. It's fantasy and science. It's the kind of good story you could watch with your parents on BBC. I definitely recommend this story.

Jan 28, 2020

On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.

Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s secret liaison, stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.

CCPL_Laura Jan 15, 2020

Once Upon a River is an absorbing, atmospheric novel that begs to be read slowly, savored, and not rushed or skimmed. The little girl's arrival sparks an interesting scientific and fantastical discussion on life, death, and the in-between. Setterfield writes the narrative like the tributaries leading to the Thames -- little, seemingly insignificant stories and characters grow and develop into a powerful flood of emotion, drama, and enlightenment by the story's end. Readers who adored Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, and those who enjoy the gothic historicals like The Miniturist and The Bear and the Nightingale, will find plenty to enjoy and discover in this novel.

Dec 09, 2019

This novel is captivating. It invites you into its storytelling. There are several great reviews here that compliment it better than I can.
I’ve read a wide range of books this year from all genres and I thought I had a definite favorite for the year picked out until I read this. It would be difficult so close to the end of 2019 to find a finer piece of writing.

JCLBetM Nov 25, 2019

This fairytale set in the real-world of England along the Thames (but still long, long ago), gently weaves a sense of magic around the rawness of aching everyday humanity. While the story unfolds slowly, the characters draw you in and the questions of their lives lend enough mystery to keep you reading. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Aug 26, 2019

Exceptional writing. Takes you on a journey back in time with great character development and story telling. It took me awhile to truly appreciate it but by the end I was so thoroughly absorbed and involved. And what a surprise ending.

Jul 20, 2019

There is no way I should have liked this book. Lots of nature, hunting, fishing, skinning muskrats, living off the land, backwoods folks, and birds. My favorite things (not)!

However, I loved it. Margo Crane is a heroine to remember. I felt like I was in a dream as I read this book; that's how transported and swept away I was. Margo is a river wild child who the men in her life are always trying to define. They even rename her: Maggie, Nymph, Margaret Louise, etc. They rape her, love her, abandon her, attempt to change and control her, but she finds her own way on her own terms. The only person who accepted her for who she truly was makes it possible for her to live her own life, a gift Margo knows how to appreciate. The writing was exquisite, the story unique, and the characters unusual and fascinating without being unbelievable. This was a great start to the new year. It's going to be hard to top.

Jul 13, 2019

Oh yes, this is so worth the meandering, just like the unnumbered paths of the Thames. I suppose some readers find it dull, so it seems one might be a 'fan' of Setterfield or not. The only thing that could have made it better for me - the audiobook, read by Jack Davenport. this is the kind of book I love to give up my time for, to put off anything else, it will stay with me for ages. While reading this I thought of my enjoyment and often read books by Rutherfurd or Pillars of the Earth, with loved stories of Britain, history.

This book caused me to take notes, get out the map of Britain, go to websites for reference; it made me remember tales of mudlarks that comb the Thames at low tide; her comments about the unaccountable items tossed or lost into the river over centuries. Setterfield can describe a lovemaking scene that far exceeds any from incipit, labored, embellished writings that abound by those whose only object is to titillate. I did not find this 'Gothic' in any manner. One review by IndyPl.... was an excellent synopsis.

This author is excellent with research, then telling the story with intricate detail in ways one might never consider, but she can lead one to investigate further. To venture onto these walking paths is a lifetime experience, much cherished memories.

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