Monday, July 15, 2013

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

About the Book:

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.

My thoughts:

I'll be honest......I don't know what I think about this book.

Did I like it? Did I get lost and bored with the meandering storyline? Was I intrigued with the unique time travel? Was I not amused at witty attempts? Was I invested in the love story of Julia and Nick? Did I hate the ending? 

Yes, to all of the above! So I'm left scratching my head on this one.

I loved Ridgway's original and imaginative concept of time travel -- I'm always drawn to stories of characters traveling through time (either forward or backward) and their adventures as they attempt to conform to the social rules and mores of their time period. Imagine the jar to the senses for a nineteenth century marquess to be hurdled 200 years forward from a battlefield to the 21st century! This could be quite interesting! Especially since he is told he can never return to his own time, and he yearns for a special young lady and her beautiful eyes from his past.....

And then there is Julia Percy,  back in the 19th century, raised by  a grandfather who possessed special powers that could play with time. When her grandfather dies, she is left to suffer at the hands of her cruel cousin Eamon who is determined to find out all he can about the secret powers the man took to his grave, even if it means destroying Julia in the process. 

Part time travel, part mystery, part romance, part spy far so good!

From here, I began to drown in the story. It meandered like the Mississippi River. I got lost. I skipped pages. It went on forever. The Guild. The Ofans. The future in peril. Who can you trust? Who is really who they say they are? Secrets are slooooowly being revealed. It picked up and I got interested again. I thought it had me as the love story developed, and just ended! I actually thought  my kindle edition was missing the last few pages. What?! 

I don't know........there are many, many 5 star ratings on different sites and terrific reviews, so this genre mash up appealed to a majority. Just didn't end up being my cup of tea.

3/5 stars

**This book (kindle edition) was purchased by me and is part of my personal library.


Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Ah, shucks! I was hoping you'd enjoy this one more than you did. Oh well. The conclusion is pretty open ended and leaves the reader with questions (myself included even though I loved the book), but since there will be a sequel the ending didn't bother me.

Joanne said...

I know, Melissa! I really wanted to like this book as I thought it might be really intriguing with the time travel (one of my favorite elements) and the Regency love story. I'm glad there will be a sequel -- I'll read the reviews to see how it all plays out.

Laurie C said...

I plan on reading this one soon, so will come back to read your thoughts more carefully later!

Joanne said...

I hope you enjoy it, Laurie!

Audra said...

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinteresting! I have this one in my queue -- still very intrigued.

Joanne said...

Audra - I would love to hear your thoughts. It's always interesting to see everyone's take on a plot. Good luck!

Lark said...

I just finished this book yesterday and I'm still trying to decide if I liked it, or not. Ridgway writes well, but her whole plotting with the Ofan and the Pale and the Guild (not to mention the ending) left me less than enthralled. I did like her characters for the most part...but was it a great book? I don't know. If she wrote a sequel would you read it?

Book of Secrets said...

Bummer it was a let down, especially with such an intriguing premise.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your review! I have mixed feelings sometimes when trying to assign a rating to a book.

Mystica said...

The moment I skip pages, I know the book is doomed. I too thought from the outline that this would be an intriguing one.

Yvette said...

I like time travel. I might like this, Joanne. Thanks for the review. Hadn't heard of it until your post.

If you want to read a couple of excellent time travel books, I really recommend THE DOOMSDAY BOOK and TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG by Connie Willis. Just wonderful, each in their own specific way.

Joanne said...

Hi Yvette! Yes, I loved The Doomsday Book as well as other books by Connie Willis. Still have a few of hers to get to. I love time travel.

Yvette said...

Me too! Love time travel, I mean. I've got a few on the shelf which I read a while back but damn if I can remember the titles. I'd probably have to re-read them anyway before I felt like I could recommend them. Old lady memory is the pits!

Lately I've been reading a lot of books set in the 18th and the 19th century so I feel as if I've been kind of time traveling in my own way. :)

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