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Once Upon a River
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Once Upon a River (Hardback)

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'A truly extraordinary book' - Dinah Jefferies

'I was completely spellbound' - Ruth Hogan

'Just marvellous' - Jo Baker

'A true storyteller' - The Times

It was the longest night of the year when the strangest of things happened . . .


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 a breath and returns to life.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

And who does the little girl belong to?

An exquisitely crafted multi-layered mystery brimming 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.


"Diane's masterful storytelling draws you in to a beguiling tale, full of twists and turns like the river at its heart, and just as rich and intriguing." (M L Stedman, bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans)

"Swift and entrancing, profound and beautiful. Give yourself a treat and read it!" (Madeline Miller, Orange Prize-winning author of The Song of Achilles and Circe)

Fiction & PoetryCrime & ThrillersHistorical mysteriesFiction & PoetryHistorical FictionMyth & legend told as fictionFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd Publication Date: 17/01/2019 ISBN-13: 9780857525659  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Diane Setterfield's bestselling novel, The Thirteenth Tale was published in 38 countries, sold more than three million copies, and was made into a television drama scripted by Christopher Hampton, starring Olivia Colmanand Vanessa Redgrave. Her second novel was Bellman & Black, and her new novel is Once Upon a River. Born in rural Berkshire, she now lives near Oxford, by the Thames.

More books by Diane Setterfield

Customer Reviews

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.

- 01/03/2019
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Staff Choice

Once Upon a River is my favourite kind of storytelling. No matter where I was reading it, it felt like I’d settled down in my comfiest chair as my imagination was whisked away to a place rooted in the real world but riven with magic. Its fable-like qualities and river-like winding work together perfectly to make a tale that is as near to oral storytelling as it’s possible to get with the written word.

Sarah, Web Team

Diane Setterfield tells us about why she wrote Once Upon a River on our blog

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 17/01/2019


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Location 1st Book Each additional book Average Delivery Time
UK Standard Delivery FREE FREE 3-7 Days
UK First Class £4.50 £1.00 1-2 Days
UK Courier £7.00 £1.00 1-2 Days
Western Europe** Courier £17.00 £3.00 2-3 Days
Western Europe** Airmail £5.00 £1.50 4-14 Days
USA / Canada Courier £20.00 £3.00 2-4 Days
USA / Canada Airmail £7.00 £3.00 4-14 Days
Rest of World Courier £22.50 £3.00 3-6 Days
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