Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield is a captivating and mystical tale that takes readers on a journey through the beautiful and enchanting river Thames. The story is set in the late nineteenth century in the small English village of Radcot, where a young girl is pulled out of the water, apparently dead. Her body remains unclaimed, and nobody is quite sure who she is, or how she came to be in the river.

The mystery of the young girl’s identity sets the stage for a tale that is as rich in character as it is in atmosphere. Setterfield masterfully weaves together a web of intersecting stories and characters – each with their own secrets and motivations – that are all drawn to the river and its mysteries. There is the local farmer who becomes obsessed with uncovering the girl’s true identity, and the wealthy family who is hoping to find their missing daughter among the nameless remains.

Alongside the human stories, Setterfield also brings a sense of the supernatural to Once Upon a River. There are rumors of ghosts and spirits on the river, and the characters are imbued with a sense of otherworldliness. The river itself takes on a life of its own, and the scenes set on its banks are filled with a sense of magic and wonder.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Once Upon a River is the way that Setterfield takes the mystery of the girl’s identity and uses it as a lens through which to view the different characters and their experiences. Through their interactions with the girl and each other, the characters are forced to confront their own pasts and secrets, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

See also  Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Overall, Once Upon a River is a beautifully written and haunting novel that will stay with readers long after they have turned the final page. Setterfield’s masterful storytelling and richly drawn characters make for a truly unforgettable reading experience.

Brief Overview of “Once Upon a River”:

  • “Once Upon a River” is a captivating historical fiction novel set in the 19th century along the banks of the River Thames in England.
  • The story begins at The Swan, an inn located in a small village called Radcot. On a winter solstice night, the regulars gather to share stories and drinks.
  • Suddenly, a mysterious stranger bursts into the inn carrying a lifeless young girl. The girl appears to have drowned in the river, but miraculously, she comes back to life.
  • The girl’s identity and origins are unknown, and her revival sparks curiosity and speculation among the villagers.
  • Three families claim her as their own: the Vaughans, the Armstrongs, and the Wheldons. Each family believes she is their missing or deceased daughter.
  • As the villagers try to unravel the girl’s true identity, a web of secrets, lies, and supernatural events emerges, blurring the boundaries between reality and folklore.
  • The narrative intertwines multiple characters’ perspectives and stories, including those of the families, the innkeeper and his son, and the local photographer.
  • Themes of love, loss, fate, and the power of storytelling are explored throughout the book.
  • The plot unfolds with twists and turns, delving into the history and mythology of the river, while also delving into the characters’ personal journeys and relationships.
  • The author skillfully weaves together elements of mystery, folklore, and historical detail to create an enchanting and atmospheric tale.
See also  Witchmark by C.L. Polk

Key Ideas and Takeaways:

  • The power of stories: The book emphasizes the significance of storytelling and the way narratives shape our understanding of the world and ourselves.
  • Identity and belonging: The story raises questions about the nature of identity and the search for belonging, as characters grapple with their own sense of self and connection to others.
  • The blending of reality and folklore: Setterfield blends elements of reality and folklore, blurring the boundaries between the natural and supernatural worlds, inviting readers to contemplate the magical and mysterious aspects of life.
  • The interconnectedness of lives: The characters’ lives intersect and influence one another in unexpected ways, illustrating the intricate connections we have with others, often beyond our awareness.
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Once Upon A River


Once Upon A River

Author by : Diane Setterfield
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2019-07-02
Publisher by : Atria/Emily Bestler Books

ISBN :

Description : From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “eerie and fascinating” (USA TODAY) The Thirteenth Tale comes a “swift and entrancing, profound and beautiful” (Madeline Miller, internationally bestselling author of Circe) novel about how we explain the world to ourselves, ourselves to others, and the meaning of our lives in a universe that remains impenetrably mysterious. 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, this is “a beguiling tale, full of twists and turns like the river at its heart, and just as rich and intriguing” (M.L. Stedman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans)....






Once Upon A River


Once Upon A River

Author by : Diane Setterfield
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2018-12-04
Publisher by : Simon and Schuster

ISBN :

Description : From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “eerie and fascinating” (USA TODAY) The Thirteenth Tale comes a “swift and entrancing, profound and beautiful” (Madeline Miller, internationally bestselling author of Circe) novel about how we explain the world to ourselves, ourselves to others, and the meaning of our lives in a universe that remains impenetrably mysterious. 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, this is “a beguiling tale, full of twists and turns like the river at its heart, and just as rich and intriguing” (M.L. Stedman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans)....






Once Upon A River


Once Upon A River

Author by : Diane Setterfield
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2018-12-04
Publisher by : Bond Street Books

ISBN :

Description : 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 Vaughan 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....






Bellman Black


Bellman Black

Author by : Diane Setterfield
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2014-06-10
Publisher by : Simon and Schuster

ISBN :

Description : Killing a bird with his slingshot as a boy, William Bellman grows up a wealthy family man unaware of how his act of childhood cruelty will have terrible consequences until a wrenching tragedy compels him to enter into a macabre bargain with a stranger in black. Reprint....






The Thirteenth Tale


The Thirteenth Tale

Author by : Diane Setterfield
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2009-03-16
Publisher by : Anchor Canada

ISBN :

Description : A #1 New York Times bestseller, The Thirteenth Tale is part contemporary, part historical with mysterious threads about family secrets and the magic of books and storytelling weaving the two together. All children mythologize their birth . . . So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist. The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish histories for herself. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary past. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman who is struck by a very curious parallel between Winter's life and her own. As Vida exposes the history she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness, of a remote estate, feral children, a governess, a ghost, and a devastating fire. In this love letter to reading, Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday world....






Spymaster


Spymaster

Author by : Helen Fry
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2021-11-30
Publisher by : Yale University Press

ISBN :

Description : The dramatic story of a man who stood at the center of British intelligence operations, the ultimate spymaster of World War Two: Thomas Kendrick Thomas Kendrick (1881–1972) was central to the British Secret Service from its beginnings through to the Second World War. Under the guise of "British Passport Officer," he ran spy networks across Europe, facilitated the escape of Austrian Jews, and later went on to set up the "M Room," a listening operation which elicited information of the same significance and scope as Bletchley Park. Yet the work of Kendrick, and its full significance, remains largely unknown. Helen Fry draws on extensive original research to tell the story of this remarkable British intelligence officer. Kendrick’s life sheds light on the development of MI6 itself—he was one of the few men to serve Britain across three wars, two of which while working for the British Secret Service. Fry explores the private and public sides of Kendrick, revealing him to be the epitome of the "English gent"—easily able to charm those around him and scrupulously secretive....






The Princess And The Pea


The Princess And The Pea

Author by : Diane Setterfield
Languange Used : en
Release Date : 2013-10-29
Publisher by : Simon and Schuster

ISBN :

Description : From the New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale and Bellman & Black comes an imaginative retelling of the classic children’s tale—with a slight twist....






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