This is such beautiful book, starting with the gorgeous cover. Diane Setterfield really has a way with words, and I loved this story about "stories." I also enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale, but I liked this one even better.
The story takes place in the late 1800's and is centered around The Swan, an inn along the bank of the Thames River, where villagers gather to tell stories. One night, a man walks into the inn with the body of a little girl pulled out of the river. She looks lifeless, until she miraculously starts breathing--the villagers believe she has come back from the dead. No one knows who she is, she can't speak, and three families want to believe that she is their family's lost child.
So we learn the stories of the three families, through more stories, and we know how stories can grow -- "When they had remembered everything there was to remember, the alcohol encouraged them to recall things they only half remembered and even to invent things they did not remember at all." Who is this child who seems to belong to the river? This novel is a beautiful dreamy folktale--just go with the flow, listen to the fascinating stories, and enjoy!