ONCE UPON A DAY by Lisa Tucker
Publisher Atria Books, April 2006
Nineteen years ago, a famous man disappeared from L.A., taking his two
children to a rocky, desolate corner of New Mexico where he raised them in
complete isolation in a utopian “Sanctuary,” away from the decadence of
America. Now, Dorothea, the man’s twenty-three-year-old daughter, is leaving
this place for the first time, in search of her missing brother, a brilliant
painter who fled the Sanctuary himself two years before, only to become lost
in the dark underbelly of St. Louis and the even darker memories of a
violent incident when he was a young child.
Dorothea’s search for her brother 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 California in a desperate
attempt to protect his children from a dangerous world. But Dorothea’s
journey will also introduce her to another man who has suffered his own
losses, and 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
Beautifully written, and always compelling, Once Upon a Day is an epic tale
of tragedy and forgiveness.
By design, the spirit of Jane Eyre looms over Once Upon a Day. Lisa
Tucker keeps the plot of this Hollywood Gothic bubbling with hard-luck
heroines, a mad brother confined to an asylum, a madder recluse of a father,
and tons of juicy family secrets.
-- Stewart O’Nan, author of Wish You Were Here and The Good
"Lisa Tucker's ONCE UPON A DAY is a smart, compelling story about the
ungainliess 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 of 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 of Louisiana Power and Light and Love Warps
the Mind a Little
Tucker's web site...