Once Upon a River Audiobook
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Once Upon a River audiobook free
Loved this story. Captivating writing and plot. Like an adult fairy tale – but subtly so. Draws you in. Truly a lyrical “escape” book. Not a “light” book in the way we refer to “beach reads” and “summer reads” (in being easy to pick up and put down, read on the go, and goes by breezy-fast). It IS a true pleasure to read, but it winds its way deep into your heart and mind. It’s substantive. Deliciously so.
Always Once Upon a River audiobook Series Shifters Unbound
I was initially drawn in by the engaging writing style and the brisk start of the story. It had this inviting “gather around and listen” narrative approach. After reading a sample, which covered the initial chapters, I was so intrigued that I had to purchase the entire book.
However, as I delved deeper, my enthusiasm waned. By the halfway mark, I grew antsy, and by the 75% mark, I felt it was dragging on unnecessarily. The final quarter felt laborious, with seemingly endless chapters. While these chapters did tie up some loose ends and answer lingering questions, my interest had already dwindled. It seemed as if the author struggled to part ways with her characters, prolonging their stories.
The story is set in the late 1800s in the U.K., a detail I learned from the author’s notes. Surprisingly, I had initially assumed it took place in the 1600-1700s. While I enjoy historical fiction from the US during the late 1800s, this book felt unrecognizable to that period, from the language to the cultural nuances. Even the tools and props felt dated. The language particularly seemed older than what I’d expect from late 19th-century settings. Perhaps this discrepancy stems from my unfamiliarity with English history or maybe the author took creative liberties with the timeline.
That said, the author’s research on the River Thames and early photography was evident and appreciated.
The story had its moments — it was, at times, enchanting, with likable protagonists and truly villainous antagonists. However, its length became its downfall. Interestingly, I later discovered that the book is slated to become a TV series, which might explain its extensive narrative. Given its length, a series might just be the right medium to cover the entire plot.
I’m not averse to lengthy tales or books spanning 500+ pages, but they need to justify their length. This one could have been more concise.
Before buying, I hadn’t read any reviews, having stumbled upon the sample and being immediately captivated, especially by its initial pace. In hindsight, reviews might have cautioned me about the mid-story lull. If I ever consider another book by this author, I’ll definitely consult reviews beforehand.
Audiobook Once Upon a River by Cris Dukehart
The tale delves into the lives of the river dwellers of the Upper Thames from yesteryears – capturing their existence, dreams, struggles, and beliefs. Spanning 420 pages, the book’s enthralling narrative had me hooked from the outset. The characters are so vivid that I felt as though I were sitting alongside them in the ‘Swan’ pub, absorbing their emotions, fears, joys, and dilemmas. The narrative subtly touches upon racism, illustrating how the individual with a darker skin tone is expected to navigate challenges independently. This novel is refreshingly unique and comes highly recommended.
Audio Once Upon a River narrated by Cris Dukehart
This book is truly delightful. Despite the multitude of intertwined stories, the author masterfully keeps the narrative lucid and smooth. I was enamored by the plot, the characters, and especially the writing style. It was refreshing to read a book without the subtle promotional undertones often found in contemporary novels.
Free audio Once Upon a River – in the audio player below
At the Swan Inn beside the Thames, the innkeeper is known for his tales. One Winter Solstice night, as he’s about to share a story, an injured man enters, holding what seems to be a lifeless young girl. Miraculously, she awakens hours later, leading to whispers of a child resurrected. This tale reaches the Vaughans, who lost their daughter Amelia years ago, Robert Armstrong, a mixed-race farmer looking for his estranged son’s daughter, and Lily White, a parson’s housekeeper haunted by her past. All claim the silent girl as their own.
“Once Upon a River” teeters between myth and reality. Folk tales of a Ferryman, a shadowy savior of souls, meet the rational perspectives of Rita, a self-taught healer, and Daunt, a photographer. The ensuing narrative involves blackmail, malevolence, spiritualism, forbidden love, and even pig farming. A mention of Lord Embury could be a nod to P.G. Wodehouse.
The book shines in its intricate plotting, aligning with its core theme of storytelling. It’s reminiscent of the author’s previous work, “The Thirteenth Tale”. The era isn’t explicitly mentioned, but it hints at the Victorian to Edwardian transition. There’s an attempt to emulate 19th-century literature, but at times it feels forced. The characters occasionally seem too polarized, with some motivations, like Helena’s, feeling inauthentic.
It might draw comparisons to Sarah Perry’s “Essex Serpent” given its cover and thematic similarities, but “Essex Serpent” has a modern edge, making “Once Upon a River” appear more like a homage. Other literary parallels could include Philip Pullman’s “Belle Sauvage” for its Thames setting, Graham Swift’s “Waterland” for its seasonal rhythm, and Dorothy L. Sayers’ “Nine Tailors” for its climactic floods.
Despite its shortcomings, “Once Upon a River” is a gratifying read, blending elements of ghost tales, mysteries, thrillers, and ultimately, a tender love story. At its core, it’s a heartwarming tale, echoing more of Wilkie Collins than Dickens in its melodramatic essence.
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