This is the first book I have read by this author, and I found Diane Setterfield to be an accomplished storyteller. From the very first paragraph, I felt like I was settling down to read a carefully woven tale filled with wonder and mystery, told by someone who didn’t skimp on details.
The setting is masterfully filled out at every point, and the river plays a huge part in the story. The descriptions of the river, how it grows bigger in some places and is almost a trickle in others; the temperature and the people who use it to get around, plays a huge part in how people live. The book is set during a time of superstition with a bit of magic thrown in for in for good measure. Many of the characters are accomplished storytellers, weaving their thoughts about the occurrences of the past and present into stories that they tell each other. All this fits together perfectly in bringing the characters to life in a way that made me feel as if understood them. There were good characters and bad ones, as all the very best books show different sides of human nature. By the end of the book, everything was neatly wrapped up in a way that made sense; there weren’t any ridiculous endings here.
I enjoyed this story, and I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author. I feel this is worthy of five stars.