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Once upon a river
2018
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Summary
From bestselling author Diane Setterfield, a new mystery as gorgeous, spellbinding and addictively readable as her blockbuster debut The Thirteenth Tale . <br> <br> Solstice is a time of dreaming, a time of stories and a time of magic. <br> <br> On a dark, misty night in the small English village of Radcot, locals gather at the Swan Inn to cap their day with drinks and lore. The 600-year-old pub is a famed hub for storytellers, but the patrons cannot know that their evening will be stranger than any tale they could weave. Into the inn bursts a mysterious man, sopping and bloodied and carrying an unconscious four-year-old girl. But before he can explain who he and the child are, and how they came to be injured, he collapses.<br> <br> Upriver, two families are searching desperately for their missing daughters. Alice Armstrong has been missing for twenty-four hours, ever since her mother's suicide. And Amelia Vaughan vanished without a trace two years prior. When the families learn of the lost little girl at the Swan Inn, each wonders if their child has at last been found. But identifying the child may not be as easy as it seems.<br> <br> Once Upon a River is a miracle of a novel, a tale of love and family, of secrets and betrayal, and of the transformative power of storytelling.
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  Booklist Review

It's a dark and stormy night at the Swan Inn, located in a sleepy village on the upper banks of the River Thames, circa 1870. The usual patrons are gathered 'round for their typical night of swapping stories when a man bursts in with a lifeless four-year-old girl in his arms. He immediately collapses, setting off a mesmerizing, moody tale of identity, family, secrets, and storytelling. The stranger has identification, but the girl is a complete mystery and everyone wants to lay claim to her. A farmer from a neighboring town believes she is the daughter of his estranged son, while a wealthy couple are convinced she is their daughter, who was kidnapped two years ago and is now miraculously returned. And some of the Swan's customers, steeped in legends and superstition, think she is the daughter of the ghostly ferryman who haunts the river. The story unfolds at an almost maddeningly slow pace until, at last, all the truths are revealed. Setterfield fills this richly layered plot with a fascinating cast of memorable characters who weave in and out of each other's lives. HIGH-DEMAND BACKLIST: Setterfield's gothic debut, The Thirteenth Tale (2006), remains a much-loved "sure bet" title in library circles. Expect holds for her new novel.--Rebecca Vnuk Copyright 2018 Booklist
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