First Line Fridays: Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield #firstlinefridays #thenavireview #bookreview #onceuponariver #dianesetterfield #adultfairytales @atriabooks

Happy Friday everyone! I’m embarking on the adult fairytale-esque Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield! This book has been on my radar, on my TBR and in my NetGalley for MONTHS now, but I’m excited to finally be getting around to it! Here’s how her book begins:

There was once an inn that sat peacefully on the bank of the Thames at Radcot, a day’s walk from the source. There were a great many inns along the upper reaches of the Thames at the time of this story and you could get drunk in all of them, but beyond the usual ale and cider each one had some particular pleasure to offer. The Red Lion at Kelmscot was musical: bargemen played their fiddles in the evening and cheesemakers sang plaintively of lost love. Inglesham had the Green Dragon, a tobacco-scented haven of contemplation. If you were a gambling man, the Stag at Eaton Hastings was the place for you, and if you preferred brawling, there was nowhere better than the Plough just outside Buscot. The Swan at Radcot had its own specialty. It was where you went for storytelling….


Definitely a dreamy start to a new-age fairy tale! What do you think? Does this sound like a book you’d like to read? Are you up for a little storytelling? 🙂


Book Blurb

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.



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