Once upon a Day

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Overview

Dorothea's father, like all good parents, wanted to keep his children safe. But unlike other parents, Charles O'Brien believed the only way to do so was to leave everything behind, including his very successful life. In a rocky, desolate corner of New Mexico, on a thirty-five acre estate he called the "Sanctuary," Charles raised the children in complete isolation, with books and encyclopedias, records and a grand piano, but no television, computer, radio, or even a newspaper. Now, Dorothea, at twenty-three, is ...
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Once Upon a Day: A Novel

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Overview

Dorothea's father, like all good parents, wanted to keep his children safe. But unlike other parents, Charles O'Brien believed the only way to do so was to leave everything behind, including his very successful life. In a rocky, desolate corner of New Mexico, on a thirty-five acre estate he called the "Sanctuary," Charles raised the children in complete isolation, with books and encyclopedias, records and a grand piano, but no television, computer, radio, or even a newspaper. Now, Dorothea, at twenty-three, is leaving this place for the first time, in search of her missing brother - and venturing into the world.

Dorothea's search will turn into an odyssey of discovery, leading to the truth of her family's past and the terrifying day that changed her father forever. But Dorothea's journey will also introduce her to an unusual cast of characters, including a homeless girl from Missouri who becomes a jazz singer and a doctor turned cabdriver who has suffered his own losses. Together, they have a chance to make a discovery of a different kind: that though a heart can be broken by the tragic events of a day, a day can also bring a new chance at love and a deeper understanding of life's infinite possibilities.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tucker's complexly structured novel could be a tight wire act for a reader because the story has multiple narrators and follows two compelling story lines separated by almost two decades. Fortunately, Bean is a dexterous performer who is more than up to the challenge. She does an admirable job, not only reading chapters in alternating character voices but also enlivening dialogue within those chapters with subtle, compelling and entertaining voices for each character. She adapts a higher, airy lightness to portray Dorothea, who is thrust out into the modern world to discover family secrets after having been sheltered from the outside world for decades by her overprotective father. Bean portrays Dorothea's emotionally damaged brother, Jimmy, with a scratchy, raw rasp and her cab-driving protector, Stephen, with the laid-back ease of a lower register. (The only voice that seems off is Dorothea's father, who sounds like a robotic Hannibal Lechter.) Tucker's tale is a twisty one filled with surprising revelations and multiple emotional payoffs, and Bean maneuvers the terrain with ease. Simultaneous release with the Atria hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 28). (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A sheltered, innocent young woman, a kind cab driver, and a former film star are the narrators of Tucker's (The Song Reader) ambitious third novel. The plot involves one Charles O'Brien, a single parent who has raised his children in the "Sanctuary," a desolate New Mexico location devoid of television, computer, radio, or newspapers. When Charles becomes seriously ill, his 23-year-old daughter, Dorothea, must travel to St. Louis to locate her missing older brother and, she hopes, convince him to return home. Her brother, meanwhile, plagued by lifelong violent nightmares, feels compelled to locate their mother's family. Dorothea's odyssey is at the heart of this challenging, compelling, and poignant novel, which is grounded by popular culture details from the Seventies and present day. Readers will find this captivating, fish-out-of-water fairy tale and mystery-suspense-romance difficult to put down. Intriguing themes, including fate and coincidence, love and loss, and tragedy and forgiveness, combine with an unusual, compassionate cast of characters to make this is a good choice for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/06.]-Andrea Tarr, Corona P.L., CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743492775
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 4/11/2006
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 1.20 (h) x 9.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Tucker
Lisa Tucker is the author of The Song Reader and Shout Down the Moon; she has also published short work in Seventeen, Pages, and The Oxford American. She has advanced degrees in English and math, and has taught creative writing at the Taos Conference and UCLA. Lisa lives in Pennsylvania and New Mexico with her husband and son.

Biography

Lisa Tucker grew up in a small town in Missouri and held a string of odd jobs before becoming a writer. In her novels, Tucker's dedication to storytelling is evident; her tender, engrossing plotlines infused with wit keep readers turning the pages.

In 2003, Tucker burst upon the scene with The Song Reader, a moving coming-of-age drama that resonated as much with adolescents as with adult readers. The novel's narrator, a vulnerable preteen named Leeann Norris, recounts the story of her adored older sister Mary Beth, a hardworking young woman who supports them both after their mother's death by waiting tables and reading songs -- that is, interpreting the events in people's lives by analyzing the songs they can't get out of their heads. When this extraordinary gift turns inward and a devastating family secret is revealed, Leeann must reach inside herself to save the sister she loves. Selected by Book Sense for its 2004-2005 reading group, The Song Reader received glowing reviews, and Tucker was hailed as "a brilliant new literary talent" (The Albuquerque Tribune).

Since her bestselling debut, Tucker has gone on to craft more compelling, emotionally nuanced novels that have garnered praise from sundry quarters. Her work has appeared in Seventeen magazine, Pages, and The Oxford American; and her short story "Why Go" (inspired by the classic Pearl Jam tune) was included in Lit Riffs: Writers "Cover" Songs They Love, an anthology of music-related fiction by Jonathan Lethem, Tom Perotta, and other contemporary writers.

Tucker is also a talented teacher who has taught creative writing at the Taos Conference, at UCLA, and at the University of Pennsylvania.

Good To Know

In our interview, Tucker shared some fun and fascinating anecdotes with us:

"I started writing fiction in 1995 for no other reason than that I loved reading it. I'd never had a creative writing course or attended a workshop; I didn't know any writers. I still feel there's something so magical about just plunging in and learning the craft as you go."

"I've had a lot of jobs. Probably the most unusual things I've done are touring the Midwest and South with a jazz band and teaching math at an urban community college."

"Of all the nice things that have been said about my novels in reviews, I think Frank Wilson's description of my characters (in The Philadelphia Inquirer) had the most meaning to me:

'These aren't the human orchids populating so much of what gets called literary fiction. These are working stiffs, the store clerks and waitresses who inhabit Heartland America [and] Tucker has drawn them without condescension.'

No one else had mentioned this, but I do write about ordinary people, the kind I grew up with and still identify with. I used to get rejections that said no one would care about these people's lives. I'm so glad that hasn't proved true!"

"I love teaching almost as much as I love writing and hope to have a chance to do it again. I also desperately want to live closer to water. Anyone know of a teaching gig near the ocean?"

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    1. Hometown:
      Santa Fe, New Mexico
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1984; M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1987; M.A., Villanova University, 1991
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Once Upon a Day

A Novel
By Lisa Tucker

Atria

Copyright © 2006 Lisa Tucker
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0743492773

Chapter One

Stephen Spaulding was very happy, and you can't say that about most people. He hadn't sought happiness, but he recognized it. This was his gift: to know what he had.

When it was gone, of course he knew that too. He changed from a man who could smile at strangers first thing in the morning to a man who wouldn't look anybody in the eye. He'd lost his family in a freak accident, and the rest he let go of as easily as opening his hand and releasing a string of balloons. Good-bye to the family practice he had just started with two friends from his residency. Good-bye to the Victorian house he and Ellen had gone deeply into debt to buy when she got pregnant during his internship. Good-bye to the cradle and the tricycle and the pink and purple birthday party dress Lizzie never had a chance to wear.

More than a year later, he still hadn't adjusted to the way time itself had been altered. Before there was never enough time, and the list of things he and Ellen had not gotten around to doing was one of many things that still tortured him. The untaken trip to Paris bothered him less than the movies they'd talked about renting. Why hadn't they watched them? Ellen'sentire list could be watched in a weekend. He knew this because he had done it, several times. He watched the movies his wife had wanted him to, and thought about what she would say if she were there. This was back in the early months, when he was trying to give her gifts, as though she could come back if only he worked harder to make her want this life.

After the accident, there was too much time. Each day stretched before him like a flat Kansas highway, the only landmarks the meals he forced himself to choke down, the few chores he performed, and the occasional walks he took, rarely noticing anything or anyone on his path. He finally bought the old green and white Checker cab not because he needed the income -- his compensation from the city would support him forever, especially since he had no desires, nothing he wanted now -- but because he could drive it as little or as much as he liked, sixteen hours a day, more if his insomnia was bad.

He wouldn't have sued, but the city gave him an enormous sum anyway. The newspaper headline called it a "regrettable tragedy." It was a Sunday in late July; the police were chasing a teenager who had stolen a rusted-out '84 Toyota from a neighbor's driveway. The car was worth less than five hundred dollars, but the patrol car that slammed into his family at the intersection had been going over eighty miles an hour. He was driving; Lizzie was in her booster seat in the back, behind Ellen. The teenage thief turned himself in when he heard what had happened. The policeman who was driving took early retirement.

And Stephen, the barely thirty-year-old family practice doc, became a cabbie. What difference did it make? His knowledge of how to heal bodies had done nothing for him anyway. His wife and four-year-old daughter had still died right in front of his eyes.

Now he was learning the quickest way to the airport from any street in St. Louis. How to slide around a bus, and when to change lanes so his customer would feel they were making progress. What times the restaurants and bars closed, and which of his regulars would be likely to drink one too many and need a ride on a Saturday night.

People often mentioned what a safe driver he was. The safest cab driver they'd ever ridden with. He nodded, but he didn't respond. He never drove without the radio playing. Talk show, pop music, news channel, it didn't matter. The radio was his excuse not to talk.

The only time he would answer was when a customer asked about the amusement park tickets. They didn't ask often, even though he'd had the tickets laminated and kept them displayed above the visor, right next to his license. Stephen wasn't surprised. He knew most people aren't interested in their cab drivers.

He wasn't surprised; still, he longed for the question. He longed for another opportunity to tell the whole story of that perfect July day at the amusement park: riding the water slides and the Ferris wheel and the child's roller coaster; eating hot dogs and ice cream -- mint chocolate chip, Ellen's favorite; trying to win a giant stuffed panda bear, and when he couldn't make the ring toss (a setup, he was sure), buying the bear for his daughter anyway.

Every time he told the story, he added a few more details. As the months went by, the story often filled the entire drive; sometimes he would still be talking while his customer was trying to hand him money and get away.

He knew he was going too far, but he couldn't help himself. Back at his apartment whenever he tried to think of that day he drew a blank. It was only in the cab, talking to strangers, that he seemed to be able to bring it all to life: the feel of the sun on the back of his hands and the bright drips of green falling off their cones onto the hot pavement and how awkward and adorable Lizzie looked that night, lugging the giant panda to their car.

He didn't realize how he'd begun to live for these discussions until a rainy morning in April, when they suddenly came to an end.

He'd picked up a girl at the bus station downtown. One of the weirdos, though this one wasn't pierced or tattooed or obviously strung out, but even more bizarre, naturally pale as a made-up Goth, but dressed like a throwback to the fifties: long flared black skirt, fluffy pink sweater, even the white ankle socks and saddle oxford shoes. Her hair was in a thick braid, twisted like some kind of tight crown on top of her head, and she was sitting up so straight she looked uncomfortable, eyes unblinking, small white hands folded carefully in her lap. Stephen had already put her out of his mind when she mentioned the tickets about ten minutes into the ride. But before he could tell her about the slides or the food or even the perfect weather that day, she noticed what no one else had: that the tickets weren't stubs.

"What happened?" she said. "Why didn't you ever use those?"

He flushed with a confusion that quickly turned to anger. It had taken him nearly a year to perfect the story of the amusement park -- for chrissakes, couldn't he have even this? He wasn't asking for all the days and hours and minutes he would have had with Ellen and Lizzie, he was just asking for one more day.

Stephen had been taking his family to the park when their car was broadsided. Lizzie had wanted to go all summer, and that day they had the tickets: they were really, finally going. All he had done in his story was change "were going" to "had gone." A mere verb shift, and yet it changed everything.

And now this strange girl in his cab was forcing him to change it back.

Her voice was entirely innocent. She had no idea what she'd taken from him. But then again, he had no idea what she was about to give.

Copyright ©2006 by Lisa Tucker



Continues...


Excerpted from Once Upon a Day by Lisa Tucker Copyright © 2006 by Lisa Tucker. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Introduction

Reading Group Guide: Once Upon a Day — Lisa Tucker

Introduction

Nineteen years ago, a famous man disappeared from Los Angeles, taking his two children to a rocky, desolate corner of New Mexico, where he raised them in complete isolation in a utopian "Sanctuary." Now, Dorothea, the man's 23-year-old daughter, is leaving this place for the first time in search of her missing brother. Dorothea's search will turn into an odyssey of discovery, leading to the shocking truth about her family's past and the terrifying events of the day that drove her father to flee L.A. in a desperate attempt to protect his children from a dangerous world. But Dorothea's journey will also introduce her to a doctor turned cabdriver who has suffered his own losses. Together, they have a chance to make a discovery of a different kind: that though a heart can be broken by the tragic events of a day, a day can also bring a new chance at love and a deeper understanding of life's infinite possibilities.

Group Discussion

1. Charles Keenan is described differently by every character in the book: Lucy says he's a "good person," Janice calls him "controlling," Jimmy pegs him as a "liar," and in Dorothea's eyes he can do no wrong. What do you think of Charles? Is he a sympathetic character?

2. What is the "angel moon" and how does it relate to Dorothea's idea that "life is about what you believe as much as what seems to be reality"? At which points in the book are there disparities between an imagined world and the cold hard facts?

3. In all of their joint film projects, Charles casts Lucy in saintly roles such as Joan of Arcand Helena Lott. He makes the case in one interview that Lucy is a good match because, like the character, "Lucy is such a principled person." Do you agree with this sentiment? In what ways do Charles' filmmaking choices reflect his views on women?

4. Dorothea's trip to St. Louis affords her the opportunity to encounter many things for the first time, most of which she approaches with a childlike wonder and fascination. Is this innocence or ignorance, and what do you make of it? What do you perceive as the author's attitude toward pop culture?

5. Discuss your thoughts about Dorothea's relationship with the older and world-weary Stephen. In what ways does it mirror young Lucy's relationship to Charles? In what ways is it different? Discuss Lucy and Charles's marriage. When did it start to deteriorate and why? What could they have done — if anything? What do you make of Lucy's second marriage?

6. Why do you think Dorothea is so devoted to her father, even after she finds out the truth about the past? How is this similar to or different from Lucy's devotion to Charles?

7. Following the loss of his wife and child, we learn that for Stephen Spaulding, "it was only in his cab, talking to strangers, that he seemed to be able to bring it all to life." Later, Dorothea unveils her story to Stephen, Stephen reveals his secret to Charles, and eventually Charles to Stephen, despite knowing very little about each other. Do you think this compulsion to confess to strangers is a realistic phenomenon? Why is there such comfort in anonymous disclosure?

8. As the title Once Upon a Day suggests, there are several "days" in this story - some tragic, some "charming" as Dorothea would say - that serve as crucial turning points in the lives of the characters. Identify 4-5 of these days and discuss their significance. Why is Once Upon a Day a more appropriate title than Once Upon a Time? Do you agree that the story hinges on these pivotal days or do you think that what occurs in between these days is more interesting?

9. Throughout the entire book, Jimmy strays from Charles, questioning everything from his father's identity, to his past, to Charles' motivations for keeping the children sequestered at the Sanctuary. Why, then, when he discovers Charles' secret shrine to Lucy and declares him "crazy" does Jimmy say he's "never felt closer to him"? Are there any other moments of craziness or insanity in the book? If so, what do you think drives the characters to such extremes?

10. Read aloud the epigram from Don Quixote. Which character can you best imagine speaking these words? Does the same sort of nostalgia for a better time run throughout the book as well? What does the passage say about fate and human existence? Do these lines strike you differently now that you've read the book than when you first encountered them?

Enhance Your Bookclub

1. Once Upon a Day is filled with references to Hollywood blockbusters. Make a list of each member's Top 5 "Must-See" movies and distribute to the group.

2. When she finally encounters it, Dorothea is fascinated by pop culture. Test your knowledge by taking Entertainment Weekly's Great American Pop Culture Quiz. http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?sid=33&pid=511047

3. If you are hosting, make sure to provide a variety of Dorothea and Stephen's favorite snack: pickles!

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide


Reading Group Guide: Once Upon a Day -- Lisa Tucker

Introduction

Nineteen years ago, a famous man disappeared from Los Angeles, taking his two children to a rocky, desolate corner of New Mexico, where he raised them in complete isolation in a utopian "Sanctuary." Now, Dorothea, the man's 23-year-old daughter, is leaving this place for the first time in search of her missing brother. Dorothea's search will turn into an odyssey of discovery, leading to the shocking truth about her family's past and the terrifying events of the day that drove her father to flee L.A. in a desperate attempt to protect his children from a dangerous world. But Dorothea's journey will also introduce her to a doctor turned cabdriver who has suffered his own losses. Together, they have a chance to make a discovery of a different kind: that though a heart can be broken by the tragic events of a day, a day can also bring a new chance at love and a deeper understanding of life's infinite possibilities.

Group Discussion

1. Charles Keenan is described differently by every character in the book: Lucy says he's a "good person," Janice calls him "controlling," Jimmy pegs him as a "liar," and in Dorothea's eyes he can do no wrong. What do you think of Charles? Is he a sympathetic character?

2. What is the "angel moon" and how does it relate to Dorothea's idea that "life is about what you believe as much as what seems to be reality"? At which points in the book are there disparities between an imagined world and the cold hard facts?

3. In all of their joint film projects, Charles casts Lucy in saintly roles such asJoan of Arc and Helena Lott. He makes the case in one interview that Lucy is a good match because, like the character, "Lucy is such a principled person." Do you agree with this sentiment? In what ways do Charles' filmmaking choices reflect his views on women?

4. Dorothea's trip to St. Louis affords her the opportunity to encounter many things for the first time, most of which she approaches with a childlike wonder and fascination. Is this innocence or ignorance, and what do you make of it? What do you perceive as the author's attitude toward pop culture?

5. Discuss your thoughts about Dorothea's relationship with the older and world-weary Stephen. In what ways does it mirror young Lucy's relationship to Charles? In what ways is it different? Discuss Lucy and Charles's marriage. When did it start to deteriorate and why? What could they have done -- if anything? What do you make of Lucy's second marriage?

6. Why do you think Dorothea is so devoted to her father, even after she finds out the truth about the past? How is this similar to or different from Lucy's devotion to Charles?

7. Following the loss of his wife and child, we learn that for Stephen Spaulding, "it was only in his cab, talking to strangers, that he seemed to be able to bring it all to life." Later, Dorothea unveils her story to Stephen, Stephen reveals his secret to Charles, and eventually Charles to Stephen, despite knowing very little about each other. Do you think this compulsion to confess to strangers is a realistic phenomenon? Why is there such comfort in anonymous disclosure?

8. As the title Once Upon a Day suggests, there are several "days" in this story - some tragic, some "charming" as Dorothea would say - that serve as crucial turning points in the lives of the characters. Identify 4-5 of these days and discuss their significance. Why is Once Upon a Day a more appropriate title than Once Upon a Time? Do you agree that the story hinges on these pivotal days or do you think that what occurs in between these days is more interesting?

9. Throughout the entire book, Jimmy strays from Charles, questioning everything from his father's identity, to his past, to Charles' motivations for keeping the children sequestered at the Sanctuary. Why, then, when he discovers Charles' secret shrine to Lucy and declares him "crazy" does Jimmy say he's "never felt closer to him"? Are there any other moments of craziness or insanity in the book? If so, what do you think drives the characters to such extremes?

10. Read aloud the epigram from Don Quixote. Which character can you best imagine speaking these words? Does the same sort of nostalgia for a better time run throughout the book as well? What does the passage say about fate and human existence? Do these lines strike you differently now that you've read the book than when you first encountered them?

Enhance Your Bookclub

1. Once Upon a Day is filled with references to Hollywood blockbusters. Make a list of each member's Top 5 "Must-See" movies and distribute to the group.

2. When she finally encounters it, Dorothea is fascinated by pop culture. Test your knowledge by taking Entertainment Weekly's Great American Pop Culture Quiz. http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?sid=33&pid=511047

3. If you are hosting, make sure to provide a variety of Dorothea and Stephen's favorite snack: pickles!

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 24, 2009

    A great novel!!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book!! Once I started I was so wrapped in the characters, I couldn't put the book down! It was beautifully written and an easy read. I actually felt the pain and joy of the characters. This is the first book by this author I have read, but I will definitely be trying her other novels! Great read!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    I found this book enthralling and captivating. I just wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen. The characters are interesting and make you want to know them more and more. Overall I would suggest this book to any avid reader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Nobody

    This book was great! Some part were so emotional though it gets hard to read. Overall one awesome book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read!

    I bought this book originally because I was looking for some new authors, and boy did I find one! In the begining, the characters appear very strange and out of place. As the story moves on, you discover that not everything is as it appears. I found that some of the characters I had a love/hate relationship with by the end of the book. As a mother, I can relate to the father's need to do whatever needed to be done to protect his children, although extreme. I loved this book from begining to end and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fresh read. I loved this book so much I went and bought other books by the same author, and I have not been let down yet! A very talented author!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    So Worth Reading

    Everything about this book delivers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Touching, sweet and romantic, all stemming from tragedy.

    This book is very engaging and enjoyable to read. There is one section that I have gone back to read several times because it is so romantic and touching. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romance and finding love in the unexpected situation. This is one that I will probably read atleast once a year. I wish there was a sequel!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    I loved this book through and through, from the unique writing style to the unique characters. I highly recommend you give it a try.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2009

    Great book

    I enjoyed it also. I read it quite awhile ago. A little bit deep, a little bit mysterious.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2008

    Heartwarming - A Truly Lovely Story

    Like the other reviewer, I was also surprised this book had no other reviews. I looked it up to find more of what this author has written; fully expecting a ton of five***** reviews on this book. I don't know what led me to pick it up - but boy am I so glad I did! The story is lovely, I could hardly put the book down. It's rather long but NEVER boring! The characters are likeable & believeable. Simply a story you must read, I recommend to all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2008

    Very Good

    I was suprised to see that there were no reviews on this yet. This caught my eye at the book store and I thought it was great. It kept me interested thru the whole story. A good read..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book was a great read all the way through. I found it surprisingly original in its story and the characters were great. It had the right amount of so many emotions and gave a lot to think about. Overall a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006

    Fall in Love with the Characters

    I simply adored Once Upon A Day, I couldn't put it down, the author doesn't only make you hate Charles (the father/husband/dirctor) but come to love and sympathize with him. It's riveting from suspense to romance, to humor to profundity. I recommend this for everyone needing a little hope and happiness.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    what a difference a day makes

    While one must be a mite credulous to accept all of the coincidences that fate provides in Lisa Tucker¿s third novel, the story is an apt reminder of life¿s infinite possibilities and the verity that healing can take place. Some may also find a bit of carpe diem in it as the plot is propelled by what can occur in a single day. As she always does, narrator Joyce Bean gives a clear, precise reading of this story of people who have been touched by tragedy. Dorothea is one of the most sympathetic characters. Her wealthy father, Charles O¿Brien, has sought to protect her from every danger. Thus, he took Dorothea and her brother, Jimmy, to live in a remote New Mexico town. It wasn¿t exactly camping out as their home was a 35 acre estate, sans television, newspapers, or any contact with the world. Brother and sister know little of their mother as Charles told them nothing. One day Jimmy disappears, evidently seeking information about his mother. Dorothea goes in search of him, which is her first venture into the world. She makes an odd appearance, dressed in 1950s clothes and appearing to be at a loss as to how to handle modern conveniences. She finds a ride from the bus station in a cab driven by a former doctor, Stephen Spaulding, who has retreated from his known life following the tragic deaths of his wife and child. It doesn¿t take much to know that these two disenfranchised people will help each other in many ways. But, what of Jimmy and the mother he and Dorothea never knew? - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2011

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    Posted July 2, 2010

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    Posted April 11, 2009

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    Posted May 30, 2009

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    Posted January 3, 2009

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    Posted May 24, 2009

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    Posted February 22, 2009

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