I eagerly anticipated this book after loving Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale. Once Upon a River is the perfect winter read, a dark fairy tale that draws you in and doesn't let go. This is a slow read with lots of characters, but I was so immersed that it held my attention 100% of the time. The story starts in an Inn along the Thames where people gather to tell stories. One night an injured man comes to the door carrying a "puppet-like" little girl who appears to be dead but later awakens. The story unfolds as they try to find where this little girl belongs.
This was a 5 star read the whole way for me. As the end approached, there were many threads to wrap up. I was holding my breath that it would all tie together. At the end, I literally felt like standing up and applauding. It was amazing down to the last word. This will be one of the books I most suggest to others for years to come.