Once Upon a River: A Novel by Diane Setterfield begins, (circa 1887) at the Swan at Radcot, a pub along the Thames River where folks regularly gather to drink and tell stories. One night something considered impossible occurs at the pub.
“For another hour they talked. Every detail of the day’s events were gone over, the facts were weighed and combined, quantities of surmising, eavesdropping, and supposition were stirred in for flavor, and a good sprinkling of rumor was added like yeast to make it rise.” – Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield – p. 158
Each chapter in the novel becomes almost a story in itself. I enjoyed the novel, but took breaks between chapters as the writing was intricate and I needed to take extra time to let the chapters settle in my mind. I did indeed enjoy each chapter and looked forward to picking up the book for the next epesode as I knew I would be in for a treat.
As the novel continues and we learn about the lives of people along the river, various tangents begin to relate to one another, the suspense builds and I did not want to put the book down.
The author asks us to suspend disbelief. If a thing is impossible, does that mean it didn’t happen?
“just ’cause a thing’s impossible don’t mean it can’t happen.” – p. 301
Once Upon A River checked off some of the things I especially like. It is historical fiction and the characters are fully developed.
What Others Are Saying
The writing in this book was quite lovely and lyrical. The story itself moved at a languid pace like the meandering river at its heart. While I was very curious about the mystery surrounding the girl, there were parts where I felt the story was too wordy and my interest waned. Still, Once Upon a River is a unique read that will appeal to lovers of magical folklore. – Diane @ Book Of Secrets
ONCE UPON A RIVER beautifully and slowly unfolded as the mystery of the little girl was revealed and as we learn about the lives of the characters. – Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews
- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (December 4, 2018)
Thank you to the publishers at Atria Books | Simon & Schuster and #shereadswithfriends on Instagram for providing me a copy of this novel.
I received this book, Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield, free of charge, from the publisher, Atria in participation with #shereadswithfriends on Instagram . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.