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Publisher's Summary

There once was a lane, filled with well-tended lawns and well-fostered friendships, of well-appointed houses all neat and tidy and those that live within, of stories and mysteries that manifest for only fleeting moments for the few who pay attention. This is one such tale. A tale about pleasant people, about the lives they live, about their wants and dreams, about their loves and losses, their joys and hates, about their days and nights in the company of cherished companions in the houses they call home. It is a dance between tears and joy, of young and old, of hopes and fears, of knowns and unknowns, of those who have yet to live and those who never have. In this tale of the happy little lives of blissful simple folk, there are monsters, to be sure. But this is not the story of monsters, this is not the tale of their evil deeds, this is the tale of those they make suffer. In this tale, the monsters have no names. The monsters do not deserve names.

©2019 Duncan Wilson (P)2019 Duncan Wilson

What listeners say about Once Upon a Lane

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Book Analysis

The majority of this analysis is going to be based around characters in this book because so many are introduced and overall contribute the most complexity to the storyline and plot.

Let’s set the scene. The wide variety of characters all resign on one lane, living in homes uniquely decorated and yards all well put, accept one. This mix of simple setting with complex characters is a perfect combination to make sure the reader is not overwhelmed. I really appreciate this balance.

Characters that stood out:

Ms. Habernathy, the first character mainly introduced, relatable in her silent treatment ways. Known for her glares and knitting, this lady is to not be messed with and the whole lane knows it.
Mr. Green was next to be introduced, and he is definitely defined as the orbit to the center of the lane, and that vision is produced without even saying so. His joyous personality and dedication to the yards and letters of the lane is remarkable.
The professor living on the lane provided the wise end of the stick, he reminded me of a bundled jar of wisdom and knowledge not quite opened yet.
The energy and life of the small community was definitely provided by young Tommy, the youngest Murphy, and his sidekick Bobby. They always knew how to talk to any of the neighbors and spice up the mood with giddy and mischievous, humorous motives and moves.
When it came to Ella and Ida, they just came off as the relatable duo. They were easy to relate to in the sense of how they communicate with one another, and their warm nature of baking tasty treats for the lane made me feel at home as well.
Matthew is an important character in this story because his journey down the lane, asking homeowners and residents where the specific house he was on the hunt for, displayed a variety of relationships and communication among the characters briefly introduced before him.

The characters include a wise and complex variety, and the author does an outstanding job of clearly navigating through each and giving all of them a unique sense of purpose on the lane and personality, which I was thankful for. I not once got confused about who was talking or portraying an action. They all had distinct features.
Starting the book out with this long scene of friendly gestures and interactions among the neighbors helped to aid in the dive to the initial murder investigation. This jump from light to dark quickly rose suspicion in me and had me on the edge of my seat.
Definitely read this book if you are into plot twists and unexpected moments.

I wanted to also identify the factor of the yards and gardens on the lane in which all of the characters lived, as I briefly mentioned in the beginning. Each yard and garden are diversely explained, but all have a common theme of cleanliness and dedication to be well put by each homeowner. This compliance of the people enhanced the fact that the one house to be suspicious of had a dead, withered, untouched yard. The symbolic representation of the dark yard in comparison to the healthy well grown yards displays a sign to beware. This drives the rest of the story. Read ‘Once Upon a Lane’ to find out more.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Unique and creepy

The author, Duncan Wilson, takes an ordinary place – a Neighborhood or Lane and turns it into something more frightening. He takes a place that seems normal and unblemished and exposes it for far worse. The Lane has taken on a life of its own. The people who seem normal, are not normal. The Lane has secrets, a life that one must look hard to see. It is a haunting story that shows one is not safe even in a small neighborhood where everyone knows your name. Wilson uses his characters to drive the story – including the Lane.
Wilson seems to imply the house with the dead lawn is encroaching, is growing, is like a drug, an evil that grows unchecked except by one old, hateful resident. We are shown that residents on the lane are much more than their well-manicured lawns, smiles, and niceness – they have experienced loss, joy, fear, and anger. Wilson could tell us who is evil and who is not, but instead, he leaves it to the listener to determine the true story of the Lane and its residents!
Although there are a lot of characters, Wilson gives them a depth that allows the listener to understand them and know them – connect them with people in their own life. This is a rare book that is driven by the characters and is not action-packed. Wilson tells the story of the Lane with ease. An accomplished storyteller, Wilson leaves his listener haunted.
The narrator, Bic Sheaffer gives a delightful performance that makes it easy for the story to flow smoothly and the listener to hear the characters. Sheaffer’s performance had a cadence that kept the listener entertained and spoke in a soothing tone.
The audio production and quality of this audiobook was excellent. There were no issues.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book after I understood Wilson’s style of storytelling.

Disclaimer: This Audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias, honest review.

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Can a place be a character?

Once Upon A Lane, by Duncan Wilson, refuses to obey genres and is a character-driven story written in strong narrative.

The Lane houses a large cast of characters including adults, children and animals who go about their everyday lives from Saturday to Wednesday. Everything touches everything and all seems normal. SEEMS.

The characters were many, very many, but Wilson writes this story in a way that keeping up with every character is not necessary. This is the best thing about this book. Imagine trying to remember everyone who lives on a street and everything about them. The fact is, the LANE is the most important character and everyone else just makes the Lane more interesting. Additionally, Wilson gives us just enough details when we “see” a character to help us know or remember them.

Again, the Lane, the world of this book is well described and easy to see. This is because the details of what the Lane itself looks like, are constantly addressed. The homes, the yards, the depths of the neighborhood are the biggest part of the story.

The plot of this book appears to be the lives of these characters but Wilson sneaks in a mystery which we are left to ponder on our own without the authors' persistence. It’s there, but it’s not there. We can see it, but it’s only a peek. This gives us all the control which is rare in a story these days!

Overall, this is an EXCELLENT book. I was very impressed with how Wilson handles such a big cast, the book was easy to read, and the plot was fun and exciting!

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Excellent

I was so impressed by this listen. It was a story told about a street and the people who inhabited the properties along it, not about a specific person or home. It was very descriptive and once I started getting really into each different plot of land, it just kept getting more and more interesting and creepy and detailed about the family that lived there and the things that had taken place.

It was very out of the box, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The story flowed well to the end, changing POV throughout, but never losing the listener.

I found the narrator to be spot on as well. Overall, I actually really enjoyed the audio book and the writing and would definitely recommend.