Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.19 with 1,176 ratings (as of 12/19/18)

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 on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child.

Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.   …more

200 Word Review

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

“Once Upon the River” by Diane Setterfield is a difficult book to categorize. It’s part fairy tale, part mystery, part fantasy, and has a dash of historical fiction thrown in for good measure. It revolves around a little town, its pub, its residents, and the river that flow nearby.

The residents are a colorful cast of characters. I enjoyed Setterfield’s use of the pub’s regulars and how they helped move the story along with their storytelling. Storytelling is a significant topic discussed in the story.

I found the beginning of the story confusing. I think it was because of all of the people involved in the storyline. Three separate storylines run parallel and intermingle in the story. Once I was able to keep the characters straight I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

I also listened to a preview of the corresponding audiobook and recommend that also. The narrator, Juliet Stevenson, uses different voices that allows the listener to clearly recognize that character.

I devoured Setterfield’s “The Thirteenth Tale” (my rating is 4 out of 5 stars) and now “Once Upon a River” (4 stars rating). Diane Setterfield is now an author I follow and am looking forward to her next story.

Genre: Fantasy, Historical fiction, Fantasy, Mystery
Print Length: 480 pages
ISBN: 0743298071 (ISBN13: 9780743298070)
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date: December 4, 2018

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