I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
Published by Dutton Adult on April 23rd 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Sci-fi, Time Travel
Source: the Publisher
In Bee Ridgway’s wonderfully imaginative debut novel, a man and a woman travel through time in a quest to bring down a secret society that controls the past and, thus, the future.
“You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.” Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life's advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild’s enemies and to find something called the Talisman.
In 1815, Julia Percy mourns the death of her beloved grandfather, an earl who could play with time. On his deathbed he whispers in her ear: “Pretend!” Pretend what? When Nick returns home as if from the dead, older than he should be and battle scarred, Julia begins to suspect that her very life depends upon the secrets Grandfather never told her. Soon enough Julia and Nick are caught up in an adventure that stretches up and down the river of time. As their knowledge of the Guild and their feelings for each other grow, the fate of the future itself is hanging in the balance.
Time travel is a tricky subject. It has to make at least a modicum of sense no matter how outlandish you wish the concept to be. River of No Return handled this aspect of the story quite well and managed to create a different form of time travel that I had not personally encountered in novels before. While I believe it to of been managed well it was still one of the more unbelievable versions with resonant emotions linking individuals to the past allowing them to access those moments in time… I’m not sure I was really sold on the whole concept.
The story definitely went on far longer than necessary. I can’t help but think I would have enjoyed it far more if it was condensed down because parts of the story felt long and drawn out. The story had a slow but steady build-up in the beginning but still took forever to really ‘get going’. I read about 1/3 of this novel before setting it aside for a short time and then coming back to it… all in all it took me about a month to read which is pretty much unheard of for me.
It definitely had a distinct ‘Outlander’ feel to it and it was also reminiscent of ‘A Discovery of Witches’ minus the supernatural creatures, and despite the fact that I love both of those books I just failed to connect with this one. The characters were well-drawn but didn’t generate any interest for me. Add to that, the characters in the past didn’t act like characters in the past should. Julia was extremely modern sounding and certainly didn’t act like a normal woman of her time, despite how progressive she may be.
I was under the impression that this was a stand-alone novel (yay for that extremely rare beastie), however, it appears that this is only the first installment of a new series (trilogy? not sure.) While I enjoyed parts of this I’m not sure I’m interested enough to continue. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for additional works by this author as it’s obvious she’s quite talented, this story and I just weren’t meant to be unfortunately.