Once Upon a River

Once Upon a River

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.

Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, the beginning of this novel will sweep you away on a powerful current of storytelling, transporting you through worlds both real and imagined, to the triumphant conclusion whose depths will continue to give up their treasures long after the last page is turned.

Title:Once Upon a River
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780743298070
Format Type:

    Once Upon a River Reviews

  • Emily May

    Along the borders of this world lie others.There are places you can cross.This is one such place. This is a beautiful story. It's a genre-crosser: something of a historical mystery told like a fairy ...

  • Chaima ? ?????

    *clinks glass* gather round folks, I would like to make a brief speech: Writing historical fiction that replicates authentically the social realities of the past might require depicting racism and dis...

  • Melissa ? Dog/Wolf Lover ? Martin

    UPDATE: In Audible US sale until end of Sept I thinkIt’s so beautifulIt was wonderful and magical and I loved it!! That’s all that matters! Mel Happy Reading!...

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    "It was solstice night, the longest night of the year... And as the borders between night and day stretch to their thinnest, so too do the borders between worlds... Unexpected things can happen. Did t...

  • Julie

    Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is a 2019 Atria/Emily Bestler Books publication. A deeply mysterious, hypnotic and fantastical Gothic yarn! Nearly a century ago, on Winter Solstice, folks assem...

  • Debra

    On a deep, dark night at an inn located on the Thames river, the regulars have gathered to swap stories, drink and unwind from their days. The evening is like any other night at the inn, until an inju...

  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*

    The Swann is an ancient Inn, along the Thames where lots of storytelling is done there. On a dark night someone was telling a story the door opened and a newcomer came in. They were trying to make sen...

  • Angela M

    I was attracted to something that I read about this book which describes an inn where people came to tell their stories. The thought of that reminded me of Canterbury Tales, read many, many years ago ...

  • Felicia

    This is the most long winded book I think I've ever read. It's been a long time since a book has given me feelings of dread every time I picked it up.Although I've never read a book by this author, I ...

  • Amalia Gavea

    ‘’Around Radcot they grow the watercress, harvest it, crate it up and send it to the towns in barges, but they don’t eat it. It’s bitter, they complain, so bitter it bites you back, and besid...