Once Upon A River
Diane Setterfield Doubleday €14.99
A bloodied man carrying a seemingly dead child comes to a Thames-side inn one 19th-century night, but soon she is found to be alive – and much sought-after. An industrialist’s wife says she’s her daughter, kidnapped two years earlier. The bad-seed son of a farmer lays claim, and a timid recluse thinks it’s her sister. Meandering like the river, the novel touches on the many lives interwoven by the mystery girl. Setterfield has a few stylistic tics that might annoy, but they’re overshadowed by a finely drawn cast and bravura storytelling.