Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield ~ Historical Fiction #TuesdayBookBlog @DianeSetterfie1 #NetGalley #OnceUponARiver

Author: Diane Setterfield

Published: December 2018 by Transworld Digital

Category: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Folklore, Suspense, Romance, Book Review

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?

The River Thames is at the heart of this story, along with those who live and work on or around it. The Swan, an ancient inn, sitting on the banks of the river is the focal point of the local community, where the tradition of storytelling thrives. On solstice night, the longest night of the year, with the regulars gathered in the pub, an injured man carrying what looked like a doll but was soon discovered to be a drowned child, staggers through the door and falls to the floor, unconscious. Rita, the local nurse is sent for and after she has attended to the man’s injuries she checks on the child. Although she appears to be dead, Rita is confused. There were no outward signs to show what had happened to the child and none of the expected signs of drowning. And then, inexplicably, the child begins to breathe. 

She stood in the doorway where the man had stood. The dead girl was in her arms.

Again? Was it time’s error? Were they drunk? Had they lost their wits? Too much had happened and their brains were full. They waited for the world to right itself.

The corpse opened its eyes.

The girl’s head swiveled.

Her gaze sent a wave through the room so strong that every eye felt its ripple, every soul was rocked on its mooring.

Time went unmeasured, and when the silence was at last broken, it was Rita who spoke. “I don’t know,” she said.

It was an answer to the question they were too stunned to ask—an answer to the question she could scarcely form herself.

The story of the girl who came back from the dead takes on a life of its own, discussed endlessly in The Swan, and spreading rapidly further afield. A couple whose child was kidnapped, a man searching for his granddaughter, a young woman hiding a guilty secret, all wonder and hope she is the child they are looking for and longing to find. Who this delicate otherworldly child who never speaks belongs too, and how she came to be in the river, forms the basis of the story.

Once Upon A River, set in the 19th century, is a slow but intricate and magical tale, with a good number of beautifully crafted and vividly portrayed diverse characters. The narrative alternates between each of their stories, following a winding course that perhaps seems a little too drawn out on occasion, but the strands are gradually woven together and the plot picks up momentum as the conclusion is in sight.

The writing is lyrical and extremely evocative, threaded throughout with magical realism, folklore, superstition and always the atmospheric setting makes its presence felt. The direction of the story isn’t obvious as it meanders, but like the river there may be more going on under the surface than is immediately apparent. I haven’t read anything quite like this before and, if you’ll pardon the pun, you just need to go with the flow, and be carried along where ever the story takes you. 

I chose to read and review Once Upon A River courtesy of NetGalley and the author/publisher.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

About the Author

Diane Setterfield is a British author. Her bestselling novel, The Thirteenth Tale (2006) was published in 38 countries worldwide and has sold more than three million copies. It was number one in the New York Times hardback fiction list for three weeks and is enjoyed as much for being ‘a love letter to reading’ as for its mystery and style. Her second novel, Bellman & Black (2013 is a genre-defying tale of rooks and Victorian retail. January 2019 sees the publication of her new title, Once Upon a River, which has been called ‘bewitching’ and ‘enchanting’.

Born in Englefield, Berkshire in 1964, Diane spent most of her childhood in the nearby village of Theale. After schooldays at Theale Green, Diane studied French Literature at the University of Bristol. Her PhD was on autobiographical structures in André Gide’s early fiction. She taught English at the Institut Universitaire de Technologie and the Ecole nationale supérieure de Chimie, both in Mulhouse, France, and later lectured in French at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. She left academia in the late 1990s to pursue writing.

Author links ~ Website | Twitter | Facebook  

The Ruin (Cormac Reilly #1) by @DervlaMcTiernan #Audiobook ~ Debut Crime Fiction set in Ireland #Review @LittleBrownUK

Author: Dervla McTiernan

Performed by Aoife McMahon

Published: Little, Brown Book Group and released on Audible March 2018.

Category: Crime, Murder, Mystery, Suspense, Audiobook Review

February 1993 

On his first week on the job, Garda Cormac Reilly responds to a call at a decrepit country house to find two silent, neglected children waiting for him – fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack. Their mother lies dead upstairs.

March 2013 

Twenty years later, Cormac has left his high-flying career as a detective in Dublin and returned to Galway. As he struggles to navigate the politics of a new police station, Maude and Jack return to haunt him.

Twenty years earlier rookie Garda Cormac Reilly discovered the body of Hilaria Blake in a dilapidated old house. He was sent out on what he thought would be a minor domestic call.

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#BlogTour #BookReview ~ The Serial Dater’s Shopping List by @morgenwriteruk @bombshellpub @BOTBSPublicity

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Serial Dater’s Shopping List

~~About the Book~~

Are you looking for the perfect summer holiday read? Then you’ll love this laugh-out-loud comedy about the highs and lows of dating.

Izzy is a journalist who usually writes a technology column for a local newspaper. Her somewhat-intimidating boss William sets her the task of dating thirty-one men, via an internet dating site, all within a month, and writing about it for the paper.

Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend Donna, Izzy knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts and starts ticking them off as she meets the men.

Follow the ups and downs of the dating process including Tim ‘the Weeble’, whose date leads Izzy to see banoffee pie in a whole new light, Lawrence the super-skinny social worker, Felix with his bizarre penchant for Persian Piranhas, and ‘the music maestro but don’t talk about dead pets’ Jake.

By the end of the month, will Izzy have met Mr Right?

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#CoverReveal ~ The Haunting of Alice May by @TonyLeeMoral #NewRelease A Supernatural Mystery #YA

Released today, The Haunting of Alice May is a young adult ghost story/paranormal romance. Here’s the book info…

Alice May Parker moves with her family to the sleepy town of Pacific Grove after her Mom dies, but little does she know the strange and terrifying events to come. When she falls into the bay during a kayaking trip, she is rescued from drowning by the mysterious Henry Raphael. Handsome, old fashioned and cordial, he is unlike any other boy she has known before. Intelligent and romantic, he sees straight into her soul. Soon Alice and Henry are swept up in a passionate and decidedly unorthodox romance until she finds out that Henry is not all what he seems. . .

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

~~Now for the cover~~

~~About the Author~~

Tony Lee Moral is the author of three books on Alfred Hitchcock and specialises in mystery and suspense; “Alfred Hitchcock’s Movie Making Masterclass”, “The Making of Hitchcock’s The Birds” and “Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie”.

Author Links ~ Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook  

Perfect Daughter by @MrsAmandaProwse ~ Contemporary Family Drama #BookReview #FridayReads

Author: Amanda Prowse

Published: July 2015 by Head of Zeus

Category: Family Drama, Contemporary Fiction, Book Review

Once upon a time, Jacks Morgan had dreams.

She would have a career and travel the world. She would own a house on the beach, and spend long nights with her boyfriend strolling under the stars.

But life had other ideas. First Martha came along, then Jonty. Then her mother moved in, and now their little terrace is bursting at the seams.

Jacks gave up on her dreams to look after her family. If only, just for once, her family would look after her…

Jacks Davies’ life hasn’t turned out the way she’d envisaged.

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Binary Witness (Amy Lane Mysteries Book 1) by @rosieclaverton ~ Crime in Cardiff #BookReview

Author: Rosie Claverton

Published: Second Edition, April 2018 by Crime Scene Books

Category: Crime, Murder, Mystery, Book Review

A young woman trapped by her fear.

A serial killer on the prowl.

An ex-con hiding from a vengeful gang.

Binary Witness is a crime thriller with a difference. There are two main protagonists. Jason Carr is an ex-con trying to make a new start.

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#GuestPost ~ Katherine McIntyre #newrelease Of Tinkers and Technomancers (The Whitfield Files Book One) @PixieRants #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m delighted to welcome Katherine McIntyre  with a guest post and extract from her latest book, released today. Of Tinkers and Technomancers (The Whitfield Files Book One) is a steampunk romance—here’s the book info…

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Cherringham ~ A Cosy #Mystery Series by @neilmustard & @katonahprod ~ Mini #Reviews

Jack Brennan, a retired NYPD homicide Detective, relocated to the Cotswold village of Cherringham after his wife died. They had always planned to retire to the UK and live on a boat, so Jack decided to fulfil the dream and now lives on an old Dutch barge moored at Cherringham, with his dog Riley.

Sarah Edwards, a web designer, returned to Cherringham with her two children when her husband left her for his boss. She now runs her own company. She and Jack are great friends as well as the local unofficial mystery solvers. They had no idea that life in a sleepy English village would present so many challenges.

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