Storytelling at its Heart

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Through the immersive premise and imagery, my first impressions of Once Upon a River are heightened with promise and curiosity for the Ockwell family as the story explores the history of how the Swan at Redcot became the storytelling pub in all of Thames. Similar to the style of traditional fairytales, Setterfield subverts the reader's expectations immediately as it takes a grave turn when a strange and disheveled man enters the Swan, as Jonathan Ockwell shortly discovers the presence of a presumably deceased girl in his company. Thus far, I have enjoyed the excerpt and can only imagine how the story continues through the eyes of the characters' beliefs in the ambiguous spirits beneath the river.