My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Once Upon A River is a modern fairy tale filled with magic and layered meaning. On the surface, it is a tale about a little girl pulled from the river and mistaken for dead, and the people who claim her as their lost loved one. Is she Amelia, or Alice, or Ann, or another girl entirely?? The current that pulls the different story lines together is a reflection on grief and parenthood. Diane Setterfield masterfully layers in metaphors for blindness and sight that enrich the story and make you want to go back and read the story again to look for more.
I first discovered Diane Setterfield’s work with The Thirteenth Tale, which I have gone back and read several times and badgered everyone I knew to read. She has created another dream-like world of possibility here in the village of Buscot in Once Upon A River.