Diane Setterfield's bestselling novel "The Thirteenth Tale" was made into a recent television drama and this wonderfully crafted book "Once Upon A River" is her third and latest fabulous offering. I haven't read anything by this author before but I will be seeking out her previous books, after absolutely devouring and loving this compelling story based on folklore, romance and suspense. Magic realism at its best!
As I started to read this hugely atmospheric tale, I honestly felt I was sitting by a roaring open fire in an ancient inn and being told the tale for myself, just like the characters were relaying tales in the opening of the story.
The characters are truly wonderful too and you really do engage with them all. Each one tells his or her story with intrigue, that makes you really feel a part of, whether it's sharing sympathy or joy.
The story is slow but rich in description and like the river the tale is based on, it meanders along, gently curving and lapping at the literary shores.
This beautifully printed book is charmingly delightful and is exquisitely written with flair, talent and imagination. Every so often a special book comes along that sweeps you off your feet and this is one of them. It will stay with me for a very long time and if I never read another book again I can retire from reading very happy. A superbly feel-good story that oozes genuine emotion, one minute making you smile, the next feeling empathy for the character's distress and I was very saddened when the story ended as I could of kept on reading it forever.
I can't recommend the spellbinding "Once Upon a River" enough or this talented author and I wish her every success with hopefully another well deserved bestseller.
5 plus stars and highly recommend.