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Once Upon a River: A Novel por Diane…
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Once Upon a River: A Novel (edição 2019)

por Diane Setterfield (Autor)

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1,4961158,925 (4.08)123
When the seemingly dead body of a child reanimates hours after arriving at an ancient inn on the Thames, three families try to claim her.On a dark midwinter's night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath, and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed. Those who dwell on the riverbank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? Three families are keen to claim her: the wealthy mother of a kidnapped daughter missing for two years; a farming family sure it is their son's secret daughter; a parson's housekeeper, reminded of her younger sister. Each family has secrets, must be revealed before the girl's identity can be known. Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, this novel will sweep readers away on a powerful current of storytelling, transporting them through worlds both real and imagined. -- adapted from jacket… (mais)
Membro:Jemalu
Título:Once Upon a River: A Novel
Autores:Diane Setterfield (Autor)
Informação:Atria/Emily Bestler Books (2019), Edition: Reprint, 496 pages
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Once Upon a River por Diane Setterfield

Adicionado recentemente porWXC89, Lisa2013, SheriDacon, biblioteca privada, WXC789, wxc777, ephemeralmochi
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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 on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child.
Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.
Replete 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.
This truly was an amazing book. Great character development and loved the Gothic aspects of it. It might even remind one of a fairy tale for adults. Could not put it down, highly recommend this book.I give this book 5 stars. ( )
  SharleneMartinMoore | Apr 24, 2021 |
Honestly I was disappointed in this novel. I had loved the previous book written in 2006 I think and when I saw her new work I was excited. The introduction was well written and engaging but the middle section of the book drew on and on. I almost put it aside which is a no no for me. I liked the ending and gave it a very generous 3 stars. ( )
  rcarpent | Mar 20, 2021 |
Once upon a time, there was an author who wrote stories, really good stories. She loved stories so much that she wrote a novel about them – about the way in which stories mould our world, fashion our thoughts, shape our past and help us fathom our present; about the way in which, like a living being, tales change and grow at each retelling; about how each and every one carry stories in our hearts, whether we choose tell them or not...

Diane Setterfield’s third novel Once Upon a River is an ambitious and complex work, but one which wears its erudition lightly and hides its artifice well. At one level, in fact, it can be enjoyed as a well-crafted historical mystery. We are in the 19th Century, on the evening of a winter’s solstice. The door of The Swan, an inn at Radcot on the River Thames, opens to reveal a badly injured man carrying a little girl. She seems to be dead – Rita, the local nurse and midwife, can detect no breath or heartbeat. Yet, against all odds, the girl revives and wakes up, whether by magic, as a result of a miracle or through some natural wonder. This does not solve the enigma of the girl’s identity, which cannot be easily ascertained especially since she turns out to be mute. The girl could well be the daughter of the Vaughans, kidnapped two years previously finally returned by her captors. Or the illegitimate granddaughter of a local farmer, abandoned by her mother before she committed suicide on being forced into prostitution. Or, if one is to believe Lily, the parson’s housekeeper, she might be a revenant, the ghost of Lily’s long-dead sister.

This mystery lies at the heart of the novel and makes a page-turner out of it, particularly in the rather breathless final chapters. Setterfield presents her story in a well-researched historical context which is conjured through loving descriptions of the Thames and its communities, and through references to the new scientific worldview which was then challenging more conservative religious and supernatural views. The story is peopled by interesting characters, including farmer Robert Armstrong, the dark-skinned illegitimate son of an earl and a housemaid; strong-willed Rita, a self-taught scientist; and Henry Daunt, who is actually based on the real-life Henry Taunt, photographer and chronicler of the Thames. Setterfield also subtly evokes the period through references to the literature of the time – echoes of Dickens and, to my mind at least, Wilkie Collins, abound.

All this would have been enough to make of the novel a considerable achievement. But Once upon a River is also a post-modern piece of meta-fiction. An insightful review on the Opinionated Reader blog (https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/once-upon-a-river/) makes the valid point that the novel purposely includes familiar tropes of British Gothic literature, particularly the river and the inn. This is very true – the Thames, in particular, could be considered not just a setting but a central character in the book, whereas the Swan is the place where the novel starts and ends. But the novel is also rich with other references to legends and folklore. Key scenes occur on the winter and summer solstice and the Autumn equinox; there are mentions of dastardly highwaymen, water sprites, goblins, ghosts, changelings, clairvoyants. And even though most of the supernatural aspects of the tale can be (but are not necessarily) rationally explained (Ann Radcliffe-style), the otherworldly is never too far too seek. Setterfield also throws her net wider than the reaches of British folklore – the figure of Quietly, the ghostly ferryman, owes as much to Classical mythology as to the classic English ghost story, and the motlew crew at the Swan act as a more modest version of a Greek chorus.

What is impressive, at the end of the day, is that all these knowing references are presented in an intriguing and involving story worthy of the classic 19th century novelists. True, it’s a tall tale, and some of the loose ends are perhaps too conveniently tied up at the end. But, we don't really mind... Like the patrons of the Swan, we all love a great story, don’t we?

For the full review, and tips for accompanying music, visit

http://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2019/02/once-upon-a-river.html ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
My first five-star read for the year.
The ending was so brilliant I found myself sobbing tears of sadness and joy combined for the last 10% of the book.
I finished reading this half an hour ago and have that bittersweet feeling that goes with the end of a wonderful book. This is my first five star reads of the year, and last year I only had two out of 92 books as I save them for something really special.

The story is set on the Thames river between London and Oxford centred around the Swan Inn, which like all good pubs, is the hub of the community. On the longest night of the year, a stranger enters the Swan, dripping wet with his face all battered holding what looks at first to be a doll. He hands the doll to somebody and then collapses. The doll turns out to be a child, around 4 years old, not breathing, presumed dead. Rita the nurse is sent for to attend to the man and the body of the child is put out in the cold summer room. A while later, Rita notices that the child is now breathing. Is it a miracle?

But who is the child? Three parties turn up the next day claiming that the child could be theirs. The Vaughans, a wealthy family whose two-year-old daughter was kidnapped and despite the ransom demand being paid, their child was never found. Mr Armstrong a man whose granddaughter is missing presumed drowned and Lily White, a "simple" woman whose sister went missing many years ago.

So many wonderful characters, and at times it seems a little like a fairytale. The good are very good and the bad are very bad but they are all utterly human and believable. My favourite has to be Rita, the nurse as I am also nurse also I guess feel a certain kinship. In many ways, she is a doctor and treated like one, but she is a woman and it's the year 1787, so nurse as good as she can get.

Henry Daunt, the man who rescued the child from the river, is a photographer, who is based on the historical figure of Henry Taunt who is famed for photographing the Thames extensively and took 53000 photos of the area using the wet collodion process, an early form of photography.

The pacing was a bit slow at times. The book starts well, but then it does seem to drift off a bit and I think the few folks that didn't finish it did so around the 15% mark, it really does seem to pick up again and become much more engaging a little while after that, so stick with it, it is worth it, trust me. The bonus of the slower pacing is that we have the time to savour the beautifully descriptive writing.

For the full review check out my blog: Engrossed in a Good Book ( )
  CharlotteBurt | Feb 1, 2021 |
A long, slow revelation of the various secrets being kept by the inhabitants of one stretch of the Thames in the 19th century and an exploration of how all those secrets and their keepers' lives intersect and branch out from the events of one evening on the river. This novel is masterfully and beautifully told (and there are a few just brilliant, hilarious bits too) and is almost as much about storytelling as it is about telling *this* story. Not quite an all-time favorite for me because the nature of it holds the reader just a touch too far away from the characters for my taste, but boy does it sure reward sticking with it. ( )
  lycomayflower | Feb 1, 2021 |
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It’s an understatement to say that the river is a character in this novel. It is more a god — powerful, changeable, violent and mysterious.... Setterfield firmly establishes this novel in the Gothic suspense genre for which she’s known, where all things commonplace become strange.....Once Upon a River is concerned with the borderline between science and magic. Changelings, underwater goblins, mermaids and ghosts are credited with causing unexplained events, making this novel feel far enough removed from real life to be a comforting read.

Setterfield is a master of the medium. Like the river at its core, her plot twists and turns with ease and confidence, and her writing is beautiful.The story she tells — and which her characters retell — is as vivid as the old folktales and real histories that inform it.
 
Diane Setterfield haunts familiar ground in “Once Upon a River,” an eerily mystic tale of a mute child who captivates the local townspeople after she’s seemingly brought back from the dead....These characters are finely drawn and wholly sympathetic, their lives rendered in precise, poignant detail. The female characters particularly are gifted with uncommon clarity, each of a different kind. Rita is a woman of science, Helena has strong emotional instincts, Bess is blessed with insight and Lily takes an unflinching view of practical realities.....Though Setterfield writes emotions with marvelous truth and subtlety, her most stunning prose is reserved for evocative descriptions of the natural world, creating an immersive experience made of light, texture, scent and sensation....The novel’s central mysteries are dispatched in one dramatic scene that feels overwrought, especially given that this is not a tightly plotted whodunit so much as a story for those who appreciate the tale’s telling as much as its end — who mark with interest the bends in the river, and who will treasure the friends they bump into along the way.
 
Once Upon a River takes more than a few pages to begin properly, even though it kicks off with a promisingly dramatic event that electrifies the regulars at the Swan, a riverside inn in Oxfordshire renowned for the quality of its storytellers...The novel then diverts its unhurried attention to three plot tributaries of its own. One concerns a prosperous mixed-race farmer with a wayward adult stepson; another, a landowner whose marriage has withered after the kidnapping of his two-year-old daughter; the last, the fearful, half-simple housekeeper for the village parson. Very gradually, the story takes shape around the claim each of these parties makes on the girl...The primary characters are all good people, drawn in bold strokes without much shading; the influence here seems more Dickens than Brontë, albeit without the comic brio..... It cannot be called a page-turner, certainly not in the order of the previous book, yet ultimately it is a success..... Setterfield... serves you bread and cheese, but it is very good bread and cheese, the sort of meal that is often more satisfying than fancier stuff. Once Upon a River is a hearty paean to the Thames and the people who live on or near it, whose stories never truly begin or end, but flow on for ever, to a dimly imagined sea.
 
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Along the borders of this world lie others. There are places you can cross. This is one such place.
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There was once an inn that sat peacefully on the bank of the Thames at Radcot, a day's walk from the source.
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As is well-known, when the moon hours lengthen, human beings come adrift from the regularity of their mechanical clocks. They nod at noon, dream in waking hours, open their eyes wide to the pitch-black night. It is a time of magic. And as the borders between night and day stretch to their thinnest, so too do the borders between worlds.
It was better to tell such stories close to the river than in a drawing room. Words accumulate indoors, trapped by walls and ceilings. The weight of what has been said can lie heavily on what might yet be said and suffocate it. By the river the air carries the story on a journey: one sentence drifts away and makes way for the next.
There are stories that may be told aloud, and stories that must be told in whispers, and there are stories that are never told at all.
They were collectors of words the same way so many of the gravel diggers were collectors of fossils. They kept an ear constantly alert for them, the rare, the unusual, the unique.
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When the seemingly dead body of a child reanimates hours after arriving at an ancient inn on the Thames, three families try to claim her.On a dark midwinter's night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath, and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed. Those who dwell on the riverbank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? Three families are keen to claim her: the wealthy mother of a kidnapped daughter missing for two years; a farming family sure it is their son's secret daughter; a parson's housekeeper, reminded of her younger sister. Each family has secrets, must be revealed before the girl's identity can be known. Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, this novel will sweep readers away on a powerful current of storytelling, transporting them through worlds both real and imagined. -- adapted from jacket

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