Fantasy/Fairy Tale Failed to Grab My Attention

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gracie lou Avatar


I was given the opportunity via Bookish First, Atria/Emily Bestler Books, and NetGalley to read Once Upon a River. I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

This fantasy/fairy tale opens with a man bursting into an inn on the river, carrying a small girl in his arms. Initially thought to be dead, the miracle child becomes the subject of a custody war, as three families claim her as their own. Who is this little girl and what is the truth?

This fantasy reads like a mixed-up fairy tale, complete with a convoluted plot and a plethora of characters. The premise was good, but I had a hard time becoming engrossed in the actual story. The author took too long to get to the point and, subsequently, I lost interest in the book. The concepts of life, death, and the afterlife are nothing new in novels, so I was hoping that Once Upon a River would provide a different spin on a familiar theme. I just never truly felt any kind of connection to the characters and was not overly impressed with the way that the story was presented. The book was too dark to be charming and so I would be hesitant to recommend Once Upon a River to other readers.