20181027_135523.jpgHappy Thursday!  Today I have a review of Once Upon a River, the first book I’ve read by Diane Setterfield, and one I was thrilled to read because of all the fabulous reviews for The Thirteenth Tale! I’ll already add here, I plan to read TTT asap!

My Thoughts:

I have read nothing like Once Upon a River. A more modern fairy tale? Quite a bit of suspense and mystery…and wonder…and charm…

Once Upon a River takes place in a historic ancient inn on the River Thames in England. This inn is famous for its storytelling and its storytellers, and in fact, when a mysterious stranger with obvious physical injuries incoherently bursts into the inn with a commotion, stories are in the midst of being told. The stranger eventually passes out, but not before the body of a dead young girl is removed from his arms. 

But she’s not dead. She comes back to life. Was she ever dead?  Questioning miracles, science in the age of Darwin, and magical powers; which one caused the girl to be alive again?

I felt like Diane Setterfield was sitting by the fire in an ancient English inn telling me a story. I’ve never heard her voice, but I’ve imagined it. She followed me on Twitter, which has me majorly star struck, I must say, especially when she tells stories this way. Ahhh! 

Sitting by that roaring fire, I snuggled right up into this book. There was something warm about it, a touch dark, romantic, tense, mystical, and every one of those things added up to a book I quite simply adored. 

This is another one of those novels that requires patience on the part of the reader. While it reads smoothly, it’s a chunk of a book, and it’s one you will savor. So much imagination and inventiveness went into this gem, and it’s worth every extra minute of investment to get to the heart of the full story. In other words: I give this one my highest recommendation. If you can be patient, that is. ♥️ 

Thanks to Atria Books for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. 


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.

Have you read Once Upon a River, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR