Book Review: ‘Once Upon A River: A Novel’ That Centers Around Tales And A River

It’s a dark night and a crowd of people are at the Swan at Radcot drinking and telling tales that have been told over the years. It’s a tradition to tell these stories. Then a man suddenly bursts in with a 4 year old little girl. The man is in a bad way and the little girl is dead. But a time later this little girl suddenly awakes and it’s a miracle as everyone thought she had died.

The word is put out that a little girl is found and three different people show up claiming that she belongs to them. A mom and dad whose little girl went missing two years ago (and not body was ever found). A man whose daughter reportedly drown and a woman who claims the girl is her little sister. She can’t belong to all of them and it’s determined the girl Amelia is the daughter of the mom and dad and they take her.

This is where the fun starts. We get the backstory on each of these people and their claims and soon learn who this little girl might really belong to. There’s twists and turns you don’t see coming up to the climatic reveals. It also adds to the allure of the stories that are still being told at the Swan.

If you like fairy tales, a mysterious river with a gatekeeper and a mystery involving a little girl with twists and turns (even including a story with a pig) this is the book for you.

You can pick it up in stores on Tuesday, December 4th from Atria Books.

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