1. Book Sense Pick
    • Featured Alternate of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs
    • People magazine Critic's Choice
    • Target "Breakout" Book
    Marie Claire "10 Best To Do"
    Redbook Book Club Pick
    • New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Book of the Year Nominee
    • Amazon Book of the Year
    Publishers Weekly 2006 Listen-Up Award Winner

Critical Praise:

"Tucker’s outstanding novel is as structurally dexterous as it is emotionally satisfying, boasting a chorus of extraordinary voices and assured parallel plot lines separated by four decades. . . .The tour de force resolution that ties both stories together is a lyrically poignant reminder of the necessity of hope."
Publishers Weeklystarred review

"In what may well be her breakout book, the gifted Tucker tells a compelling love story with uncommon empathy and grace."

"Tucker's graceful prose and well-crafted characters create a compelling odyssey of transfiguration."
People magazine, Critic's Choice

"Beautifully written. . .intriguing."
USA Today

"Tucker's most ambitious novel yet.  It's a tragedy, a mystery, a romance, a twisted family story about loss, violence, obsession, and forgiveness. . .  Tucker is a graceful writer, with an ability to create characters whose flaws help make them sympathetic and believably human."
Boston Globe

"The title of Tucker's third novel sounds like a Nora Ephron movie, and on the surface the fanciful plot seems to play right along. . .[But] another narrative strand casts a welcome emotional shadow. . .lifting Once Upon a Day out of the realm of romantic comedy and into the darker territory of an Old World fairy tale."
--New York Times Book Review

"Tucker raises great questions about the nature of parental and marital responsibility. . . Once Upon a Day is readable, full of enjoyable characters, discussable and therefore bound to be a popular book-group pick."
Denver Post

"Sheltered from the outside world for most of her 23 years, Dorothea's got a lot to learn about modern life--and the tragic event that forced her once-famous father into hiding.  Hope is the take-away of Lisa Tucker's deftly written and emotionally convincing novel."
Marie Claire

"A challenging, compelling, and poignant novel. . . Readers will find this captivating, fish-out-of-water fairy tale and mystery-suspense-romance difficult to put down."
Library Journal

"A dark, passionate tale. . . Tucker has a stylish, authentic way of revealing how it only takes one day for a person to lose hope--or regain it."

"Once Upon a Day proves a real page-turner. . . Tucker keeps you guessing, crafting almost a mystery, along with a two-pronged love story. . .This one will stick with you. . ."
St. Louis Post Dispatch

"Tucker's brilliant storytelling skills make for a novel rich in suspense. . . Once Upon a Day raises profound questions about the limits of love, the power of the past, and the capacity of the human heart to deal with tragedy."

"In her impressive third novel, Lisa Tucker weaves together a complex tale that will enthrall readers from the first page to the last. . . Supremely satisfying, Once Upon a Day will be welcomed by Tucker's fans, embraced by new readers and should prove a popular selection for reading clubs."
Celebrity Cafe

"Lisa Tucker's Once Upon a Day is a smart, compelling story about the ungainliness of familial and romantic love, spiked with of-the-moment observations about such things as Hollywood, homeschooling, and American violence.  Tucker's quietly and yet wildly ambitious novel is a subtle, witty deconstruction of fairy tales and a graceful tour de force of storytelling."
—Mark Winegardner, author, Crooked River Burning and The Godfather Returns

"Lisa Tucker gives me what I want most from fiction: compassion and provocation.  Her novels rattle my brain and shake me out of complacency. They tell me about me. Once Upon a Day is more impressive than anything she's written previously, and I don't say that lightly."
—John Dufresne, author, Louisiana Power & Light and Love Warps the Mind a Little

"The spirit of Jane Eyre looms over Once Upon a Day.  Lisa Tucker keeps the plot of this gothic novel bubbling with tons of juicy family secrets."
—Stewart O'Nan

Once Upon a Day

Nineteen years ago, a famous man disappeared from Los Angeles, taking his two children, Dorothea and Jimmy, to a rocky, desolate corner of New Mexico where he raised them in complete isolation in a utopian "Sanctuary."  The children grew up 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 in search of her missing brother -- and venturing into the wide world for the first time. 

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 social worker whose mistake in judgment changes her best friend's life.  And she will meet Stephen, a doctor turned cabdriver who, after suffering his own losses, has lost his ability to believe in a meaningful world.  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.

  1. Also available on CD and MP3 from Brilliance Audio. 

    Listen to a sample.

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