4-Star · Library

[ARC Review] – Once Upon a River

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TitleOnce Upon a River
Author: Diane Setterfield
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publication Date: 17 Jan 2019
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Summary: On 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 and in steps an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a child. Hours later, the dead girl stirs, takes and breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? And who does the little girl belong to?


I have to say that this book is a fresh air after reading so many YA’s and fantasy book. I’m not sure which genres this book belongs to, there’s bit supernatural thing going on, but there’s bit life happening. Which one is it then? Ah, curious, curiouser indeed. I was happy when I received this from a giveway (again, yeah I know). And I couldn’t stop not to share what I thought of this book after finished reading it in one go that I slept at almost 3 am. Man, I’m so sleepy now, but alas, here it is!

Diane has a unique characteristic in telling the stories. The book itself is revolving around story telling, hence you will read the book in a way somebody was reading it out to you. At least, that’s what I felt. Perhaps, this was what felt like to hear a story telling from someone’s mouth.

Nonetheless, at first, I was a bit bored. Too many introductions. Too many characters. One part in the beginning was a bit shocking, then it went a bit downhill until when it reached into almost the end of Part 1, where all things started to intertwine and connec to each other.

There are 3 parts in the story, Part 1, 2, and 3. The first part is about the girl, who was dead and then survived, something beyond any logical explanation. Then story of those who might relate to the girl. And then it went the story of the conflict between the girl then went to the climax.

I have to say, starting from Part 2, it intrigued me. The story suddenly captivated me like how the smell of tea does to me. I couldn’t stop and I had to turn the page to know what’s going on. Then I reached the ending. Man was it so satisfying. There were some confusions still, but if you squinted at all the hints, you might be able to connect the dots. I still feel so chill after finishing this book, so what would you say if we head for a cake?

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