The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
Dutton - Historical-Contemporary Fiction/Time Travel
Going back to my 2007 Q/A format for this review. I must confess it blows my mind a little to realize just how long I've been doing this blogging thing.
What led you to pick up The River of No Return? It was that beautiful cover (posted by the author, a Twitter friend) that led me to the book's description and from there it went straight onto my wish list.
Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending: Lord Nicholas Falcott was about to be killed on a battlefield during the Napoleonic War when he was ripped away from the battlefield and lapsed into unconsciousness. Awakened 200 years later in London hospital, he found that he'd jumped forward in time. A representative of the Guild, a secret organization of people who have jumped forward on the "River of Time", informs Lord Falcott what's happened to him and then he is spirited to a facility in Brazil, where he is trained to live in the modern world, told where he may and may not go and given plenty of money to start his new life as Nick Davenant.
But a second shadowy organization works in opposition to the Guild and after 10 years of living in the United States, Nick is summoned by the Guild. He is needed to help find an unknown talisman, figure out what has gone wrong within the time stream of the future and prepare to fight the opposing Ofan. Back in his own time period, Nick becomes reacquainted with Julia Percy, a neighbor whose grandfather was able to manipulate time. But, Julia is in danger. A distant relative has inherited her grandfather's estate, he believes she knows the secret to her grandfather's ability, and he has a dangerous temper.
What did you like most about The River of No Return? I love time travel, in general, and I was very fond of the two main characters. It was fun to follow Nick back to his home in Regency England and I liked the slow unfolding of the plot, revealing that something has gone wrong. I also loved the fact that there were characters who had jumped from a variety of other time periods. Just getting a glimpse into where they had come from and how they lived was kind of a kick. There is also an element of romance but it's not dominant, which is how I prefer romance in a book.
Thoughts about the plot: This is my kind of book. I love escaping from reality without that escape become so ridiculously far-fetched that it's beyond my grasp.
Share a favorite scene from the book: My favorite scene is actually a spoiler and I don't want to ruin the read for others so I'll just tell you I really, really enjoyed the scenes that involved the manipulation of time. I could easily visualize them as movie scenes -- and, in fact, similar has been done but I still think it would be fun to see The River of No Return made into a movie.
In general: As per my 2007 format, I'm going to rate this book (surprise!). It's a 4/5, which means I really enjoyed it. I loved the characterization, found much of the dialogue plausible and entertaining (especially the parts during which Nick confused the modern speech he's practiced for 10 years with his old Regency lingo - some of the Guild's discussions were a yawn) and absolutely loved the paranormal/time travel aspect.
I did, however, come away from the read feeling that it was missing something, but I wasn't sure exactly what, hence the delay in reviewing. I needed to give the "missing something sensation" some thought. In the end, I decided it was the fact that there was a good bit of telling in regard to the River of Time. I would have liked to travel in time a bit more, rather than reading Guild talk about the time stream and taking that single jaunt back to the one time period. That's obviously just a personal preference. And, there were a few repetitive phrases unique to the author, which I found annoying. While the ending was not as firmly wrapped up as I like, it wasn't cliff-hangery enough to frustrate me and I will definitely want to read the next book in the series.
My thanks to Bee Ridgway for kindly having her publicist send a replacement copy when the copy sent by a friend was stolen in transit.
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