Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway

 Published April 23rd 2013 by Dutton Adult

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.
I was sent an advance copy to review and I'm so glad I got to read it! I am a fan of time travel concepts and this book had a really interesting take on the idea. Time is like a river... it flows in one direction. Except it isn't. That's just what the Guild tells people that jump forward in time. The truth behind it is much more complicated.

Nick and Julia's relationship feels more real to me than the obsessive loves I've read in other books (like in A Discovery of Witches, for example). Julia is able to discover what she can do on her own. I was happy to read something with such a strong female character. No, she isn't perfect and made choices that kept her from finding things out earlier, but it was all her. She is independent and strong and pretty awesome for a woman from 1815... no shrinking violets here.

There were pieces of poetry scattered throughout the novel and I was able to pick out a couple of my favorites, though they weren't directly mentioned. It was like an Easter egg placed just for me to find. The main thing that I had a hard time with (and it was only minor) was that the Guild would just give people that much money every year to do whatever they wanted. Certain people would be able to be used by them but it seems a little extravagant.

I hope there will be at least another book coming, because there was so much of the story left to tell! I am going to be suggesting this to family and friends!

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