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Once Upon a River
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
A dark midwinters 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 Setterfields bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.
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review
suvata
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

• TBR since July 2, 2018
So glad that I finally picked this up.

A dark midwinter‘s night. The Swan, an ancient inn on the banks of the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the corpse of a drowned 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?

charl08 Ooh, I do love a book map... 1mo
AlysonCE I couldn‘t quite get myself in to this. I think I read 100 pages or so and never picked it up again. I might have to give it another go. 1mo
suvata @AlysonCE It took me a little while to get into it but once I did I couldn‘t put it down. 1mo
56 likes3 comments
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readingjedi
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

Nearly Bailed on this in the early stage - due more to a gnarly reading slump rather than the quality of the writing/plot - I'm so glad I stuck with it as it is quite delightful. A well told, enthralling tale with some fantastic characters & a touch of magic. As it unfolded its layers to me, I became more & more bewitched. I loved Rita - I related to her in some deeply personal & moving ways. Good ending too, resolution AND a touch of mystery.

ManyWordsLater I love this cover! 2mo
88 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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mrsmarch
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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This was tough. First, I had to pick a book for the month. The Taking of Jemima Boone or Louisa May Alcott‘s Hospital Sketches were also amazing, recommendable reads. I went with a book that was amazing and also accessible, being a YA book. But then I had to choose between Straight on Til Morning and Empire of Pain. EoP was a slog but an accessible slog, and an important slog. I‘ve talked about it SO MUCH since reading it. But I know it would👇🏻

mrsmarch 👉🏻be hard to recommend a book that dense to absolutely everyone. Once Upon A River is a book I could recommend to everyone. I actually gave my copy to another mom at school when I finished reading it. 2mo
suvata It‘s so hard to narrow it down to just one book a month and it‘s only going to get harder as we add more books. 2mo
23 likes2 comments
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Clare-Dragonfly
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Mehso-so

Not sure what to say about this book. It was interesting, but didn‘t pull me in. The ending was reasonably satisfying (in a “no clear answers” kind of way). It relied heavily on a pet peeve of mine, POV characters knowing/realizing something but that information being deliberately kept from the reader until later.

TheAromaofBooks Withholding information from the reader just to “build tension“ reeeeeally annoys me! 2mo
Clare-Dragonfly @TheAromaofBooks I‘m so glad I‘m not the only one! Obviously it happens all the time, but most times it‘s done subtly. When it‘s like “I gasped when I saw her face, and then I knew what I had to do” and you don‘t find out what they decided to do for three more chapters… ARGH! 2mo
TheAromaofBooks I gave up on a detective series because the author did that sooo much - it was always “He read the letter and then knew what he needed to do“ or “when he looked out the window, he saw the one clue he had missing all along“ and it drove me INSANE 😂 2mo
30 likes4 comments
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Lucy_Anywhere
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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#TBRPile 📚 “There was once an inn that sat peacefully on the bank of the Thames at Radcot, a long day‘s walk from the source.”

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AmyK1
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

On the night of the winter solstice an injured man arrives at The Swan, an ancient inn on the banks of the Thames, with a dead girl in his arms. A little later she is alive but unable to speak and no one knows for sure who she is. This was beautifully written with a bit of magical realism.

My #doublespin for April @TheAromaofBooks

IuliaC Great review! I enjoyed this one 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2mo
48 likes2 comments
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readingjedi
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Starting this one today. Two nice cover variations here but I think I prefer the one on the left.

IuliaC I enjoyed this one very much 3mo
85 likes1 comment
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jlhammar
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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The Swan at Radcot, local watering hole and ancient inn, where strong ale is poured and stories are told. Wonderful book.

#Pub #SavvySettings
@Eggs @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Eggs Sounds good! 4mo
43 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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mrsmarch
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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This was a tough #bracket. Both books were excellent, but I can imagine myself recommending Once Upon A River to a wider group of people.

ItsAngel Ohhhh I want to do this! 😬 4mo
mrsmarch @ItsAngel I don‘t know what the Book of the Year is going to be! I‘m going to be surprised and I don‘t know how I feel about that. 😂 4mo
ItsAngel @mrsmarch that‘s the beauty of it! 😬 Do you have a template for the bracket table you used or did you just make it? 4mo
23 likes1 stack add3 comments
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AllDebooks
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
Pickpick

This is one of those once in a blue moon books where you are really sad to finish it and also envious of anyone yet to discover it. It has absolutely incredible, poetic writing, not just in the characterisations, scenery and weather but overall a complete sense of inclusion with that time period. You actually feel like part of the crowd, or I did. It is one of my all time favourite reads.

AllDebooks Cont - The river Thames is by far the dominant character of the novel and that in itself is an achievement. I believe Setterfield has accomplished a classic story that will be discussed for years.

The character Robert Armstrong caused some serious moments of discomforture for me personally. As a POC who has had a more fortunate upbringing than would be expected for the time, an education and money behind him for a start, I hated the way he acquised himself to accommodate others fear or distrust. However, I think the author is making an important point regarding people's perceptions and judgements and despite how fixed they may seem they can be swayed.

Indeed reading others reviews has highlighted just how contentious this is, including accusations of racism. I thought she handled it really well, because no matter which way it is discussed, it will always be divisive. I think she is to be admired for her bravery in tackling the subject when there was no real necessity for it. Surely, the whole point of good literature is to evoke passion and conversation around literary themes as they echo life and our everyday dealings and experiences. For this reason alone this novel would make an excellent choice for a book club.
4mo
9 likes1 comment
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mrsmarch
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Finished the tagged book and thus completed February‘s double spin. ENGROSSING. I brought my Kindle but also bought Grim Reader yesterday, so in a fit of vacation reading I will tackle some cozy mysteries. #bookspin

Feb Finished:
Missing of Clairdelune — so good!
Once Upon a River — EXTRA GOOD!
King‘s Mountain — decent
Trials of Phillis Wheatley — eh, decent

DNF So Many Beginnings — sad 😔

TBR: Grim Reader, Fatal Fried Rice

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 4mo
22 likes1 comment
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melissajayne
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Mehso-so

2.5⭐️ I didn‘t like nor did I understand what the book was about; found it confusing as to what the storyline was. I thought the book was too long. May need a reread in the future. #fiction #2021 #historicalfiction #magicalrealism #bookreview #bookstagram #fantasy

Was my #bookspin book for October

TheAromaofBooks Such a gorgeous cover, though!! 8mo
24 likes1 comment
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melissajayne
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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There was once an inn that sat peacefully on the bank of the Thames at Radcot, a long day‘s walk from the source.

#firstlinefridays

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melissajayne
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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My goals are to work on my #bookspin (the tagged book) and #doublespin selections for #bookspinbingo

#outstandingoctober

Andrew65 Thanks for sharing 😍 9mo
19 likes1 comment
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nishaagni
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

This was a fun book. The writing is humorous in parts and reflective in the others. The banter between characters was really enjoyable.

The author kept up the mystery well and although it's not a life changing book, it's good enough to entertain you.

The last one hour of the book felt a little drawn out. But it doesn't hamper the reading experience.

Julia Stevenson's narration brought the characters to life. Makes for a good one time listen.

SilversReviews I enjoyed this book too. 11mo
18 likes1 comment
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AnneCecilie
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

An injured man walks into a pub close to the river. He is carrying a girl who looks to be dead. Later in the day, the girl wakes up.

Setterfield has a way of telling a story that just pulls you in. Can‘t wait to read her next book.

60 likes3 stack adds
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Moonprismpower
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Three Claims:
“The Leach, the Churn and the Coln all have their separate journeys before they join the Thames to swell its waters, and in similar fashion the Vaughans and the Armstrongs and Lily White had their own stories in the years and days before they became a part of this one. But join it they did, and now we come to the meeting of the waterways. “

Walking Fort Hill in my hometown on Cape Cod while listening to my book.

MySharonaK Beautiful picture 💕 1y
rachaich This is one of my book club reads (I read it last year). I'm looking forward to hearing what others say. 1y
Moonprismpower @rachaich I‘ve read her other books and really enjoyed a the Thirteenth Tale ..took until about page 50 before I loved it. This one I‘m working through slowly. Already I‘m loving Robert Armstrong and Helena Vaughan. I want to know their stories. And just who stole Maud? Was it Lily White? 😂 1y
46 likes3 comments
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Moonprismpower
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Listening and puzzling. Laugh all you want. The only puzzles I am patient enough to do are tiny puzzles. On the plus side I finished a puzzle so I feel successful!🤪😜
How‘s your thousand piece puzzle coming along?🤣😂😅

Laughterhp Haha love it! My 1000 piece puzzle is sitting on my kitchen table where it‘s been since I started it in like October 😂😂😂 1y
Moonprismpower @Laughterhp I‘m seriously considering this to be my new hobby. 😜😂 and I should look into a business startup of tiny puzzles for adults who cannot finish things and have no patience. There‘s a market for that. 1y
Smrloomis I love this! I had no idea there were tiny puzzles. ❤️ 1y
nishaagni I love this 😀 11mo
45 likes4 comments
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Mrs_B
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

Picked this up a while ago as a 99p deal and then never got round to reading it. I'm so very glad I finally did, I loved getting caught up in the mystery of the girl, who is she, where has she come from and is it really magic? The tantalising hints of stories kept me guessing and I thought I had it figured out until another twist had me rethinking! There are a lot of characters, but their distinct characteristics helps to keep them straight.

95 likes2 stack adds
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Aida_Nam
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Mehso-so

I went against the age old advice and chose this book because I fell in love with the design of its cover. Fortunately, the content was not too disappointing. The language is ornamented with metaphors, poetry and symbolism. The book is much like the river it draws so much from. It has its ups and downs, wild and gentle movements and touches different banks like mystery, mysticism, science and so on. It is a good casual read

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underground_bks
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

I‘m glad I waited to read this one in winter, as it begins on a midwinter‘s night and, more importantly, has a winter‘s night‘s pace. Warm and slow, satisfying and pleasing, like a belly full of stew and feet before a fire and snow falling around. The narration is fantastic, but slow—I varied between 1x and 2x speed at times.

jessinikkip I felt the same when I read it. It helped give you that small place, cold night feel. Good shift between fast and slow. I really liked it 1y
underground_bks @jessinikkip yes! Great description! 1y
33 likes1 stack add2 comments
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nannermc12
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

It took some time to get into but about a fourth of the way through it picked up a bit more. It was an unexpected who done it. Very enjoyable read after a stressful holiday weekend.

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Bookgoil
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Thank you to @AmyG for this birthday happy! Thanks for thinking of me on my special day! I can‘t wait to read another Setterfield novel! ❤️❤️❤️ #litsylove

AmyG I loved this book and it‘s not usually what I read. So I was excited to see it on your tbr. Happy Birthday!!! 🎂 2y
Bookgoil @AmyG thanks! It‘s been ages since I read another book by her so I‘m excited! I love when you can gift a book you‘ve enjoyed! ❤️❤️❤️ 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Oh no 😜😱🥴🤣 2y
31 likes3 comments
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SerenaCrawford
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
Mehso-so

It had a great lead —-could not stop reading it. Then I was half through and for me it dragged. I put a bookmark 🔖 in it.....maybe I‘ll pick it up again. Not sure.

rachaich I thought the same. 2y
SerenaCrawford It‘s a shame because it had a good start 1y
11 likes2 comments
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TheEllieMo
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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In this novel, a young child is rescued from the River Thames, and three different families believe her to be their child.

#WhatChildIsThis
#DecemberSong
@Eggs

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catsuit_mango
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Work is very slow lately so I ll be in my comfy chair by the window dreaming of the Thames

LazyOwl That looks super comfy 2y
15 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Texreader
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Another purchase today! I liked The Thirteenth Tale so this has been on my tbr list.

GardenJess Beautiful cover! 2y
Texreader @GardenJess I agree! 😌 2y
83 likes2 comments
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Sweetkokoro
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

I finally was able to finish this and oh man did it hurt my heart. This story was so beautiful and it kept me on the edge of seat, I could not figure out anything and I loved that! The author did an amazing job making sure to keep you in the dark but also hooked. I still don‘t know how to categorize it genre wise but I‘m glad I picked up thinking it was regular fantasy Haha.

Sweetkokoro This was also the first Book I have ever annotated/tagged in not sure of the right word lol. Also @TheAromaofBooks this was my #bookspin book, and I will mark it off for the #bookspinbingo 2y
TheAromaofBooks Yay!! Great progress!!! 2y
36 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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wideeyedreader
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

Another one down for #bookspinbingo! This is also my #doublespin book. I really enjoyed this, it was very atmospheric and almost magical. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TheAromaofBooks Lovely!! 2y
26 likes1 comment
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umbrellagirl
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Back from our road trip and power has been off since Tuesday. Staying with my mum until we can return home. Gallons of tea being consumed. Hope our fellow northeastern littens are keeping well after the storm.

readordierachel Cute mug 🐝 2y
kspenmoll Glad to hear you have landed well- ! 2y
umbrellagirl @readordierachel thanks! It was a gift from me 😉 2y
See All 6 Comments
umbrellagirl @kspenmoll argh, just lost power here in Canton. Hoping it means they shut it off so they can work on the lines. 🤞🏻 2y
Tanisha_A Loveee that mug 2y
umbrellagirl @Tanisha_A 🙂🙂🙂 2y
57 likes6 comments
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veritysalter
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️ A slow and melodic story that follows the lives of those live by a stretch of the Thames near Oxford. On the Winter Solstice a man enters The Swan Pub with a drowned girl, hours later she is alive, but mute. Three families stake their claim on the child, is she Ann, Alice or Amelia? Time flows by and events unfold until it is time for the Solstice again.

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wideeyedreader
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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“There was once an inn that sat peacefully on the bank of the Thames at Radcot, a day‘s walk from the source.”
#firstlinefridays

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umbrellagirl
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Lovely morning.

emz711 Oh my 😍 2y
Cathythoughts Beautiful picture 2y
kspenmoll Gorgeous!!!! How are you doing? Power at your house or not? Hope you & yours are ok. 2y
See All 6 Comments
umbrellagirl @kspenmoll No power since Tuesday but we‘ve been away. Back now from our little road trip and staying with my mum until our electricity is restored. Hope you are well! 2y
umbrellagirl @emz711 @Cathythoughts Such a relaxing spot! 2y
kspenmoll @umbrellagirl Thanks. We went to a hotel close by. We lucked out with a room; many are full. Just not campers. (edited) 2y
64 likes6 comments
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umbrellagirl
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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I wasn‘t in the mood when I started this last time. I think I‘m in the right place for it now.

57 likes1 stack add
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Nelle1
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Starting this - has me captivated within the first two chapters!!

Insightsintobooks I loved this book. I Can't wait to hear what you think. 2y
15 likes1 stack add1 comment
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kathedron
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

When she's good, she's very very good! This is a thoroughly absorbing, good old fashioned yarn about parents and children, about storytelling, and about the Thames. At it's heart is an intriguing question: if something is impossible, might it still happen? There's factual truth, then there's emotional truth.
Tiny complaint: DS favours tying up her endings in a bow, when I prefer things to be left more open to interpretation.
Loved. This. Book.

AmyG I really enjoyed this book, too. 2y
47 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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kathedron
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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"They were collectors of words..."
I'm warming to these folk already! ?

Tamra Great book! 2y
38 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Mrs_B
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Couldn‘t resist for 99p, gets good reviews on Litsy, fingers crossed! 🤞

AmyG I really enjoyed this story. Good book. 2y
TrishB Historical Chinese fiction it definitely isn‘t!! A good read though 👍🏻 2y
BookwormM I loved it definitely not Chinese 2y
Kimberlone Loved this book! 2y
Bette So good. 😊 2y
54 likes5 comments
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rachaich
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

A twisty tale full mystery and uncertainty.
I.liked the ambiguity. I found some of the characters confusing together so had to keep checking back!

😊😋

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rachaich
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Another intricate cover full.of folklore and tales...

23 likes1 stack add
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Melli
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
Pickpick

Have you ever received a book from a publisher but that you were excited to read but when you tried it just didn‘t seem like the right time, this is what happened to me I received this as an arc from a bookish first contest that I won when I received it I tried to read it but I couldn‘t get into it.. finally picked it up 2 weekends ago and dived in and it was the right time.. I loved it. But I knew I would!

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SBoos
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Mehso-so

'm really not sure what it was about this one, but I had such a challenging time getting through it. The beginning felt so slow, and I had trouble keeping the characters sorted. I enjoyed the final third of the book quite a bit! Setterfield does a fine job wrapping up the tangled web she'a woven at the beginning of the novel -- I just wish the first parts had been a little more engrossing.⁣ 😔

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kezzlou85
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Well final time for #24B4Monday wasn't great but I did finish three books in that time so not all is lost. Thanks for another one and you're unending support @Andrew65 . Been lots of fun.
@SumisBooks @jb72

Andrew65 That‘s a brilliant time, especially with your other commitments. Well done 👏👏👏🙌🙌🍾🥂🥳🎊 Thanks for taking part. 😊 2y
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick You still did great! I think I read for 2 hours all weekend. 2y
kezzlou85 @Andrew65 thank you. It was fun and I always look forward to these. 2y
kezzlou85 @Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick thanks and two hours is better than none. 2y
44 likes4 comments
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kezzlou85
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Day 1 of #24B4Monday and just over four hours in. No books finished yet but made a way through three books so going well. Hoping for about 12 hours. @SumisBooks @Andrew65 @jb72

Andrew65 Well done, a good start. 👏👏👏 2y
kezzlou85 @Andrew65 thank you. 2y
41 likes2 comments
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viirastus
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Mehso-so

This magical mystery about storytelling and a child who is found dead from the river and then comes back to life was thematically quite interesting. Several people in the community believe her to be their lost relative, but no one is sure. I also liked the setting (19th century London) and most of the characters. However, it often felt overly descriptive and too fragmented. I probably would have liked it more if it didn't drag for 500+ pages.

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CaitlinSiem
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

For having a mystery at its core, I liked how whimsical this story was. I enjoyed it and the wonderment surrounding it.

I listened to this one and I think some of the beautiful pieces of this book may have been a little lost on me. I liked the audiobook but I think this book would be a little more appreciated read in print.

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IuliaC
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Such a delightful reading

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IuliaC
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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Celebrating Orthodox Easter this weekend. Extra time to dive into this novel

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IuliaC
Once Upon a River | Diane Setterfield
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"For one thing, the river that flows ever onwards is also seeping sideways, irrigating the fields and land to one side and the other. It finds its way into wells and is drawn up to launder petticoats and be boiled for tea. It is sucked into root membranes, travels up cell by cell to the surface, is held in the leaves of watercress." (illustration by Nasim Norouzi)