Once upon a river

4 stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a hard book to describe. It’s part folktale, part mystery, part romance and part magical fairy tale. The story starts off slowly, but stick with it. As it unwinds, the pace picks up until its tragic, but wonderful, ending.

During a dark midwinter’s night in a small inn by the Thames river, the regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories. A badly injured stranger bursts through the door carrying a little dead girl. After the healer tends to the injured stranger, she inspects the body of the little girl and discovers she’s alive. The regulars speculate as to how the little girl could be alive. Is it a miracle, magic, science or something else?

But who is the little girl? One family believes it is their long-lost daughter that was kidnapped two years earlier. Another man believes it is his daughter from his estranged, recently deceased wife. Yet another believes the little girl is her younger sister. The girl, who doesn’t speak, is not able to tell anyone who she is or where she belongs. She does not seem happy, however, and stares longingly at the river as if she’s expecting someone to come get her.

The author weaves the stories of several families and townspeople together to tell the tale. The book is beautifully written and once the pace picked up, I couldn’t stop reading. I recommend you read this book.