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drallapaul

Historical mystery novel with a magic realism touch - worth a look

Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield

 

 

Taking place at the end of the 19th century over the period of a year along the upper Thames, this novel deals with the discovery of an injured man and a seemingly dead girl emerging from the river at the Swan inn. From there, a series of events take place involving a host of locals of various descriptions. There are mysteries to be solved, revelations to be explained and the novel includes murder, theft, kidnapping, betrayal, domestic abuse and a lot more besides.

 

The characters are the most important part of the tale, well-developed, diverse and interesting and they drive the plot as they find love, redemption, justice and a future. Slow-moving, the plot takes its time and there’s not a lot of “action”. An enjoyable read, reminiscent of true 19th century works with a touch of the mystical. Recommended.