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River of Destiny by Barbara Erskine

River of Destiny

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

March 2013 Book of the Month.

Travelling across three time periods, Anglo Saxon, Victorian and today, and linked by bodies and buildings, this is as much a murder mystery as it is an historical epic. Erskine has a gift of creating twists of fate each time period that affect the lives of people in subsequent periods. A terrific read.

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for River of Destiny a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'I am in awe of her skill as a writer to hook the reader in and keep them turning the pages.' - Lisa Redmond. Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like Barbara Erskine you might also like to read books by Diana Gabaldon, James Long and Jane Johnson.

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River of Destiny by Barbara Erskine

From the bestselling author of Time's Legacy and Lady of Hay comes a thrilling new novel, River of Destiny, an epic story that spans Anglo Saxon Britain, Victorian Suffolk and the present day.

An Anglo Saxon burial ground that must not be disturbed. A Victorian tragedy of forbidden love. And an ancient curse whose power grows ever stronger...On the banks of the River Deben lies a set of barns dating back to the Anglo Saxons, and within their walls secrets have laid buried for centuries. Zoe and Ken have just moved into one of the barns, ready to start a new life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. To the outside world they seem like an ordinary couple, but underneath they are growing ever more distant by the day. And the strange presence Zoe feels within their home, and the shapes she sees through the cloying mists on the river are getting harder to ignore. Whilst farmers are ploughing the land surrounding them, human bones are found and when the police arrive it becomes clear that the remains are much older than first suspected...Are they linked to a Victorian tragedy the locals whisper about? And what should they make of the grassy mound which has remained untouched across many centuries, but has now been disturbed with seemingly devastating consequences?


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review River of Destiny. You can read their reviews below.

Helen Clark - 'I hadn’t even reached page 10 of River of Destiny when I felt a shiver down my back and I was hooked...I’ve read all Barbara Erskine’s books and this is undoubtedly her best. Thrilling, scary, sad, endearing, wicked, and exciting – in fact totally unputdownable.' Click here to read the full review.

Edel Waugh
- 'This is an awesome story!!! There is a real eerie feeling to the story which leaves you completely unable to put it down...I was blown away by how well the stories came together giving a very satisfying ending.' Click here to read the full review.

Lucinda Fountain - 'Refreshingly original and multi-layered this spinechilling, ghostly thriller has an archaic, gothic feel to it that is disturbingly magnetic...Interweaving classic contemporary fiction with a delicate supernatural ambiance, this exceptional novel reaches out to a wide readership by beautifully merging together varying genres...Barbara Erskine, highly acclaimed author of ‘Lady of Hay’, has triumphed once again with an ambitious literary masterpiece!' Click here to read the full review.

Linda Hill - 'The novel spans a wide range of genres from romantic, supernatural and historical and will appeal to a huge range of readers. 'River of Destiny' is a really good read and thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend it.' Click here to read the full review.

Marion McCaffery - 'The way the characters in each time era combined together in the story was interesting, how their lives run parallel with each other it left you breathless...Summing up I find the book exciting and fast moving I could not put it down I cannot wait till the next book by Barbara Erskine. 5 stars' Click here to read the full review.

Susan Walsh - 'A real Winner. Beautifully written, an absolute pleasure to read from the very first page....Magical!' Click here to read the full review.

Beverley Davenport - 'This book will appeal to those who enjoy modern novels, historical novels and ghost stories; it is a wonderful mix of all three.' Click here to read the full review.

Nailah Afghan - 'I really enjoyed this book...Although it ran along three time periods and three story lines, it wasn’t at all confusing; it was well put together and a page turner all the way through.' Click here to read the full review.

Helen Sidebottom - 'Barbara Erskine has done it again with her new novel, this story weaves its way through three different time-lines bringing the ghosts of the past and superstitions to a crescendo in modern day.' Click here to read the full review.

Claire Holden - 'The book begins well and I was quickly captivated by each of the characters and the omnipresent mystical elements which interlink their daily lives. The writer’s style impels you to keep reading.' Click here to read the full review.

Sallyann Spittle - 'Barbara Erskine enables you to escape to another world which shows her prowess as a first class storyteller. Any supernatural/mystery book lover will adore and relish this book.' Click here to read the full review.

Lisa Redmond - 'Peopled with a terrific cast of well-drawn characters River of Destiny never disappoints...I am in awe of her skill as a writer to hook the reader in and keep them turning the pages.' Click here to read the full review.

Linda Birt - 'A supernatural, romantic ghost thriller from Barbara Erskine, combining three different timescales Anglo Saxon, Victorian and the present day all interwoven with her excellent storytelling.' Click here to read the full review.

Joan Hill - 'The historical stories are meticulously researched and give a real flavour of the era. Barbara Erskine is a historian by training and uses her knowledge to bring her stories seamlessly to life.' Click here to read the full review.

Teresa Majury - 'This is my first foray into Barbara Erskine territory and I’m delighted to report that I will be back for more!... definitely an unputdownable read, not so creepy as to keep you awake but you’ll probably still be awake in the wee small hours reading anyway.' Click here to read the full review.

Judi Davies - 'This was my first experience of Barbara Erskine and I was excited by the synopsis and the cover...I enjoyed the introductions to the different periods in time and liked the characters initially.' Click here to read the full review.

Sharon Butler - 'This genre of book is not my usual choice, however I am keen to broaden my range of fiction and the notes on the back of the book intrigued me.' Click here to read the full review.


Praise for Time's Legacy:

'Marvellous escapist stuff
Woman and Home Praise for Warrior

's Princess 'A riveting timeslip novel'
Fanny Blake

'Her forte is mood, atmosphere and the toe-curling frisson'
Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times

'Stephen King meets Ruth Rendell'
Frank Delaney

'Barbara Erskine's storytelling talent is undeniable'
The Times

About the Author

Barbara Erskine

Barbara Erskine was our Guest Editor in July 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing.

An historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of thirteen novels, at once demonstrating her interest in history and the supernatural, plus four collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty-six languages. Barbara’s first novel, Lady of Hay, has sold over three million copies worldwide to date. She lives in Hay-on-Wye.

Author photo © Karolina Webb

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Book Info

Publication date

14th February 2013


Barbara Erskine

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Harper an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


496 pages


Historical Fiction
Books of the Month
Romantic Fiction
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction



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