Once Upon A River

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - MORE | BOOKS - Jef­frey Burke

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.

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