The River of No Return

The River of No Return

3.68 (6,088 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 452 pages
  • 162 x 236 x 36mm | 658g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0525953868
  • 9780525953869
  • 2,312,093

Review quote

""The River of No Return" is an innovative and sophisticated first novel. At the heart of this entertaining story--set primarily and convincingly in Regency-era England--is a serious and timely question: what does it mean to be on the winning side of history?" - William Galperin, Professor of English, Rutgers University, and author of" The Historical Austen "
"A highly entertaining romp; her historical details are accurate, and the character are believable. Fans of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series should enjoy this time-traveling romantic adventure, which may also attract readers who like historical fiction with a twist." - "Library Journal "
"In her stellar debut, Ridgway manages the permutations of the time-travel trope with originality and aplomb." - "Booklist "
"Ridgway offers a well-crafted blend of science fiction, romance, mystery, and historical fiction." - "Publishers Weekly"
"A compelling race through time in a historical world turned upside down--the Regency as you've never seen it before. Take one nobleman and one gently born lady; add time travel, intrigue, a vast conspiracy, and a wicked way with words; shake; and serve." -Lauren Willig, author of The Pink Carnation series
"While on its shining surface "The River of No Return" is a fantastical time traveling page turner, it is also a novel that takes on complex issues of culture and nationalism and how or memories form us. And it is a riveting love story to boot. Bee Ridgway is a treasure and her debut is a triumph." -Jennifer Gilmore, author of "Golden Country" and "Something Red"
"The only thing more fun than reading this book would be to actually travel through time yourself. Erudite and beautifully crafted, "The River of No Return" is at the same time a lush, riotous fantasy. Ridgway's ingenuity and charm are apparently without limit."
--Heather Love, R. Jean Brownlee associate professor in the humanities, University of Pennsylvania, and aut
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About Bee Ridgway

BEE RIDGWAY holds a PhD in literature from Cornell University and is a professor of English literature at Bryn Mawr College. She lived in England for several years and now makes her home in Philadelphia.
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Rating details

6,088 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 22% (1,311)
4 39% (2,384)
3 28% (1,717)
2 8% (510)
1 3% (166)

Our customer reviews

At the point of death on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nicholas Falcott finds himself jumping forward in time nearly 200 years and in the care of an organisation called The Guild. He doesn't know how he got there, just that he can never go back. However after 10 years in the modern world he is told that he must do just that - and that the future of the world depends on it. The cover blurb of The River of No Return compares it to The Time Traveller's Wife, but as I'm the only person in the Western hemisphere who hasn't read that, it didn't give me any clue to what this novel might be about. I'm not really a reader of fantasy or sci-fi (i.e. anything with time travel in it), though I'm always happy to expand the genres I read, but I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who, so I'm obviously not against a bit (a lot!) of time travelling in fiction. Again on the Doctor Who theme, I'm always up for a bit of requited or unrequited love across the eons. I also read a lot of chick-lit (although I don't really like calling it that), so have nothing against a good love story. All this meant I was keen to read this doorstop of a book and I enjoyed the first few chapters, but found that my interest waned after that. The ideas were interesting, but I didn't feel that the characters drew me in sufficiently and I thought pacing was a problem. Some sections felt like wading through treacle with endless passages of people sitting round discussing the ins and outs of time travel and what time travellers can and can't do. I understand that sometimes a writer has to do this kind of thing when trying to convey complex concepts, but there was just too much of it to be interesting. The longueurs are interspersed with periods of feverish action which can seem overdone in the context of the rest of the book. I didn't feel that any of the characters were particularly well-drawn and some were just walking stereotypes. The 19th century female characters just felt like modern women dropped into that era, they didn't behave as I would expect from my readings of novels of the time, and this had the result of eroding my trust in the author to know what she was doing. There was also an irritating quirk of placing small almost subliminal clues in the modern part of the book to trigger recognition in the reader that we're in contemporary London. A couple of examples of this was the inclusion of The Shard, and ads on the side of taxis for The Book of Mormon musical, which hasn't yet opened at the time I write this. I found this unnecessary and annoying, rather than helpful, so it just made me cross. In the same way that many current films are too long, I felt this novel went on and on and on. It would have been a sharper, more involving read had it been shorter. More is not necessarily better and a comprehensive cull of much of the "sitting round discussing time travel" would have made it more enjoyable. There's also the issue of the (presumably) forthcoming sequel and having to leave enough loose ends to facilitate this. Does every novel now have to be part of a trilogy? Can we not have stand-alone books, complete worlds in themselves, which we can read and put down totally satisfied without having to wait for the next adventures of the characters? Trilogies are getting out of hand now, for the love of God please stop it! I felt like there was a good, shorter book trying to fight its way out of The River Of No Return, but sadly it failed, leaving me with a novel that had some good ideas but that I didn't enjoy as much as I hoped I more
by CuteBadger
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