Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Once Upon a River

Thames. A river is both constant and changing. Close your eyes for just a moment while meandering down a river and you may lose a sense of where you are. From the beginning to the end of Diane Setterfield’s novel titled, Once Upon a River, the Thames is present, constant and changing. The action starts dramatically at the Swan, an inn on the Thames that’s the locus for community storytelling, on the longest night of the year, when a drenched stranger barges through the door of the inn carrying what looks like a doll and he collapses to the floor. What looked like a doll then appears to be a dead girl who then revives despite not registering a heartbeat when checked. No one knows who she is. After that dramatic opening, Setterfield calms readers down and sets us on a meandering journey forward and backward in time as three different families believe they know the identity of the girl. Impatient readers may find the diversions tedious, but for those readers who are patient with a large cast of characters and who have plenty of time to let the tale spin out, there’s a well-told story here and some entertaining hours spent by the Thames. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Once Upon a River from

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