The Blonde Bookworm: Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield -- Review

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield -- Review

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Title: Once Upon a River
Author: Diane Setterfield 
Pages 480
Publishing: December 4th 2018 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books


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.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

Or can it be explained by science?

Replete with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.


Oh my heavens... what did I just read? Once Upon a River is a truly amazing novel and I don't know how I'm going to put into words how I feel about it. Coming in at about 480 pages long, this is not a short read or one that you'll be able to skim through quickly. With that said, it is NOT a book you will want to skim through quickly. I wanted to soak up every little detail and every speck of information about each of the characters. 

This novel is highly character driven and it's definitely a novel that will continue to grow on you with time. The first several chapters take a little while to get into because of all the character introductions, but give it time and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. I loved so much about this novel that it's really hard to talk about the best parts and the best characters, but I think I grew to love Rita and Mr. Armstrong the most out of everyone. BUT... all of the characters were phenomenal and I probably would change that answer tomorrow if you asked me again! 

All in all, Once Upon a River was a beautiful and atmospheric read that you will  want to spend your time taking in. It is filled with beautiful scenery, contagious characters, and more magic than you could imagine. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who loved Setterfield's previous novel. Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Rating 5/5 


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