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Publisher's Summary

From the instant number one New York Times best-selling author of the “eerie and fascinating” (USA Today) The Thirteenth Tale comes a richly imagined, powerful new novel about how we explain the world to ourselves, ourselves to others, and the meaning of our lives in a universe that remains impenetrably mysterious.

A body always tells a story - but this child’s was a blank page.

Rita reached for the lantern on its hook. She trained its light on the child’s face.

"Who are you?" she murmured, but the face said as little as the rest of her. It was impossible to tell whether, in life, these blunt and unfinished features had borne the imprint of prettiness, timid watchfulness, or sly mischief. If there had once been curiosity or placidity or impatience here, life had not had time to etch it into permanence.

Only a very short time ago - two hours or not much more - the body and soul of this little girl had still been securely attached. At this thought, and despite all her training, all her experience, Rita found herself suddenly in the grip of a storm of feeling. All the old rage at God - for not being kind, for not being fair, and finally for just not being - swept her up all over again and she felt tears of anger on her face. She took the child’s hand in hers - the perfect hand with its five perfect fingers and their perfect fingernails - and the words fell out of her that she had not known were there:

"It should not be so! It should not be so!"

And that is when it happened.

©2019 Diane Setterfield (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    5 out of 5 stars

Once Upon a...

Who can resist "Once Upon a " stories? This one delivers not only a captivating story, but irresistible characters, the good, the bad and the flawed. There is magic here, but it lies more in the mystery, and the lyrical telling of the tale and tales within tales. I was drawn in by phrases in the first few minutes as.."since the light had drained from the sky", or a description of a man for whom "only strong ale and storytelling could reduce the pain in his bones". Juliet Stevenson's narration is beautifully done.
Like other really good books I have read or listened to, this is my favorite...for now.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nancy
  • San Juan Capistrano, CA, United States
  • 12-09-18

Excellent

Hard to find the words to say about this book. It takes you away and you find yourself sitting at the Swan listening to a (the) story. This is one of those special books that you rarely find anymore. Lots of characters but not hard to keep track of as they become people you know.
The narrator could not have been better. Perfection.
Writing like this is so hard to find that I will buy it in hardback to have on my “favorites” bookshelf. Kudos to Diane Setterfield and Juliet Stevenson. Thank you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful