Friday, November 30, 2018

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY!!

Once Upon a River is a tale full of mystery, intrigue, and magic set during the Victorian era on a small village on the River Thames.  The Swan is an ancient inn that is known for being a good place to hear a great story.  One winter evening, the patrons are startled when an injured man appears carrying the corpse of a little girl.  They are even more startled when the girl comes back to life.  Who is she?  Three different families try to claim her.  Is she the mysterious Mrs. White’s young sister Ann, is she Amelia, the daughter kidnapped from the Vaughn’s two years previous, is she Alice, the young daughter of Robin Armstrong with his secret wife?

Setterfield’s writing is beautiful.  The tale is wonderful, and you feel swept up into it as you read along.  I really wanted to know how this would all conclude. I loved learning about the background of all the characters as the story moved on and all the pieces were put into place. I love the story, but just reading the way she put together her sentences and story was very enjoyable.  Setterfield writes with magical realism, which is a form of writing I have always enjoyed.    I loved her two previous works, The Thirteenth Tale and Bellman and Black.

I loved Setterfield’s characters.  In particular I loved Robert Armstrong.  I found his story to be very intriguing.  Robert was the son of an Earl and his black serving girl.  He was raised in affluence and given a farm by his father.  As a dark-skinned man, he looks different and is shunned by the local community even though he is a good man.  He’s put in his all for his family, his wife and his children but he can’t figure out what has gone wrong with their eldest child, Robin. I also loved Mr. Vaughn and his inner turmoil as he wants to believe the child is Amelia, but he is not quite sure.  Another favorite character was Rita.  Raised by nuns, Rita is basically a woman doctor without the title who helps out the community during emergencies.  She is deadly afraid of childbirth though and that holds her back from romance . . . although even she feels the pull of the mysterious child.  I loved her experiments and logical way of thinking.

I love how water and the river featured prominently in the tale and were woven throughout the story.  I’m a water resources engineer, and I love water.  I love how it is mysterious, but also a powerful force of nature.  I love even the description of the river and how it flows in many different directions while it’s taking you on a journey.  I love the tales that the people told about the water and being on the “other side” of the river or death.

Favorite Quotes:
“The only sleepless one was the child herself, who at the heart of the tale, breathed the seconds lightly in and lightly out while she gazed at nothing and listened to the sound of the river rushing by.”

“A pearl of water formed in the corner of an eye.”

“There are stories that may be told aloud, and stories that must be told in whispers, and there are stories that are never told at all.”

“There are stories you have never heard on the other side of the river . . . I can only half remember them when I am on this side . . . such stories.”

“Fancy being afraid of water.  It’s everywhere.  Places you can see it.  Places you can’t.  Places you know about it and places you don’t.  Funny thing, water.”

Overall, Once Upon a River is a magical Victorian fairy tale of the mystery of one girl found in a river and all those that want to claim her.  I highly recommend it.

Book Source:  Review Copy from Simon and Schuster.  Thank-you!

The giveaway is a rafflecopter as linked below for a finished copy of the novel and a Once Upon a River bookmark.  There are five prize packages and it runs through December 24, 2018.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


“One of the most pleasurable and satisfying new books I've read in a long time. Setterfield is a master storyteller...swift and entrancing, profound and beautiful.” —Madeline Miller, internationally bestselling author of Circe and The Song of Achilles

From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of the “eerie and fascinating” (USA TODAYThe Thirteenth Tale comes a richly imagined, powerful new 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, 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.

Diane Setterfield is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Thirteenth Tale, and a former academic, specializing in twentieth-century French literature, particularly the works of Andre Gide. She lives in Oxford, England.

Atria Books Hardcover | 480 pages | ISBN: 9780743298070| December 4, 2018 | $28.00
eBook: 480 pages | ISBN: 9781501190230| $13.99

Grab your copy of ONCE UPON A RIVER:
Barnes & Noble:

Now for the fun….the #OnceUponaRiver Contest!
Enter the Rafflecopter to win a finished copy of ONCE UPON A RIVER and ONCE UPON A RIVER bookmark! (5 prize bundles in total) Contest is open until 12/24.