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The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

The River of No Return

by Bee Ridgway

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Really enjoyed this book, but feel that the story is unfinished! I want to know more about Arkady, Jemison, Alva, Leo (!) and of course Nick and Julia. ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 28, 2018 |
There's a lot of promise in this debut novel, a light-hearted genre mash-up that's part historical fiction, part romance, part fantasy. The River of No Return begins with the English nobleman Nicholas Falcott being whisked from a Napoleonic-era battlefield to twenty-first century Vermont, where he finds himself caught up in the machinations of the Guild, a secret and wealthy society of time travellers. Meanwhile, back in 1815, his neighbour Julia Percy is beginning to learn just how much the ability to slip loose of time is valued by others.

The River of No Return has got lots of elements I enjoy: magic, Regency England, a reasonably diverse cast of supporting characters, some enjoyable leads (though ones who often felt anachronistic—why does it seem so difficult for authors to write a female character who is formidable and forward-thinking but still believably of her time?), even a carriage chase scene. However, I thought the pacing was off throughout, some plot twists were a bit overly convoluted/unbelievable, and the book simply ends rather than concludes. I'm vaguely interested in reading the second book in this series (though not billed as "first in a...", the ending is clearly setting up for a sequel), but only if Ridgway can bring a sharper editing eye to her work.

(On a nitpicking level, I note the author is a college professor. Surely then she could have found a colleague who would have informed her that demimonde means "half-world" (i.e., a life in the shadows, on the fringes), not "half the population"), and that "Dei gratia" means "by the grace of God", not "thank God." Genteel young women from early nineteenth-century England would never have made such basic errors in French and Latin. It would maybe be more difficult for the author to find someone in the U.S. who understands Irish, but I can assure her that "Fear garbh ar mait" does not mean much of anything, let alone "Here is a good, blunt man.") ( )
  siriaeve | Jul 3, 2018 |
Okay, changed from 3 to 4 stars. I really enjoyed this book, but I was disappointed in all the loose ends. I couldn't find anything about a sequel and was stunned that things would be left hanging like that. I just read that the author is "chugging away on a sequel," so my mind is eased a bit.
I loved how complex the time traveling was and the sort of Big Brother reach of The Guild was awe-inspiring and frightening.
The way Ridgway showed Nick move from an "authority is right" mindset to one where he made his own decisions was subtle and realistic.

It was a great read for a week at the beach! ( )
  VanChocStrawberry | Apr 2, 2018 |
Loved it!! This book was utterly captivating; it's a lively romp that neatly ties present-day with 1815 in such a manner that you are riveted from the first page until the very last. The "river" metaphor that is the undercurrent of the story (no pun intended) explaining time was beautifully crafted and executed. In this way the book also holds a wonderfully thought-provoking philosophical aspect that gives each interaction between the characters new meanings and a stronger connection for the reader. And, most importantly, I ADORED the characters. I struggled with Nick as he fought against himself. I was breathless with Julia as she raced to learn more about her world.

My one complaint is that I felt slightly cheated at the end. Many things were unresolved in the resolution of this book. it left me confused and wondering where the conclusion really was. I'm hoping there is a sequel that will answer the many questions that were left unanswered for me by the time I reached the last page. (Please, let there be a sequel!)

As someone who has worked with this professor at Bryn Mawr, I had high expectations for this book - and in typical Bryn Mawr fashion, she exceeded every one! ( )
  srsharms | Jul 20, 2017 |
Very, very angry.

Mainly because after reading 450 pages of a novel in which I was invested, it was very upsetting to realize, about 30 pages from the end, that there is no way everything's going to wrap up in time.

And guess what? It doesn't. There is no resolution, and no ending. I HATE books that just stop, without an ending. Thanks for nothing. I will NOT be reading the sequels, as this doesn't qualify as a novel.

The characters were a little bland, and the relationship between Nick and Julia, a little juvenile.

I also was bewildered by the lack of transition from the 19th cent to this one. One day Nick wakes up in the 21st century, and the next day he's watching "Three's Company" reruns and swimming in an infinity pool? There was so much good material there waiting to be shown, his gradual learning about and getting used to the future, and it was elided over. Very disappointing.

Way too long, as well. There were huge amounts of time dedicated to things like a deep discussion of the corn bill, for no reason I can fathom in the big picture. Totally ridiculous.

I felt the explanations of the time-travel issues -- that it relies on emotions, that you can be pulled one way, but not the other, that the future is turning back on itself -- this was a little too mumbo-jumbo-y for me. I felt there wasn't a coherent system of time travel here, just disparate pieces here and there of things that sort of sounded good but really, taken as a whole, don't really go together. The whole thing with the Ofan vs the Guild -- it's barely touched on, not really explained -- not satisfactorily dealt with. Which side is Nick on? Which is the good, and evil? So many questions, and none get resolved. That whole business with Peter coming up with the theory about the Talisman, while Julia is listening in pretending to be frozen in time? UGH.

As another example, it's accepted that most people can't travel back and forth. But then there's Julia, who can slow time, along with others. This seems to be a separate talent, but the author suggests it's all part of the same package talent. OK. Then, Julia and Jemison and Mibbs can affect others' emotions as well. How does that fit in? Why?

These are never resolved, but promised to be. GGGGGGGRRRRRRRRR!!!! ( )
  ChayaLovesToRead | Feb 28, 2017 |
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Bee Ridgwayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Misani, NickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525953868, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:55 -0400)

Waking up in a modern London hospital 200 years after meeting his death on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott is indoctrinated into a time-traveling society and returned to the side of a woman he loves to reclaim a vital talisman, a mission that places the fate of the future in his hands.… (more)

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