The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
|The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: A great time-slip story with a bit of love on the side that takes us across the world and the centuries through intrigue, suspense and uncertainty as no one seems to be the person they appear… or perhaps they are… or not.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 560||Date: May 2013|
|Publisher: Michael Joseph|
|External links: Author's website|
Nick was born in England in 1790 and is rather partial to pickled bits of pig and beef jelly. He finds this rather difficult to explain to his girlfriends, him being a young man and this being America, 2013. His 19th century Napoleonic war wounds are hard to explain away too. His second lease on life in the 21st century is thanks to the mysterious Guild whose main rule is that no one can return to the time or home country from which they originated. He doesn't mind as they pay him well for his silence but all this is about to change. One day they decide they can't only send him back, they won't take no for an answer. Any thought Nick may have about a possible catch is supplanted by memories of Julia, the girl Nick left behind in England. It's all a bit fishy though.
American writer Bee Ridgway has come up with a sweeping stonker of an original tale for her debut novel as Nick the 21st century lothario returns to his former life as Lord Nicholas Falcott, 19th century aristocrat, in order to race through time on a mission that involves murder plots, secret agents, much mystery and a touch of true love. The action will appeal to all us Deborah Harkness and Diana Gabaldon fans whereas the side you come down on regarding the love story depends on how you feel about Mills and Boone moments, of which there are a couple. But please don’t let that be a deciding feature as Nick's mission, the Guild and the well written twists and turns that thrill us with their uncertainty dominate, and wonderfully so.
The basic pretext is that time is like a flowing river along which most of us travel in one direction. However there are those gifted enough to jump out of the river at one point, re-entering further up or downstream and there are third parties who would use this gift and other unusual abilities for nefarious ends. The hunky Nick (there were no pictures but from where I was sitting he was generating great hunk) just needs to be able to tell the good from the bad.
Not only does Nick emit hunk in a Jamie Fraser way, he emits credibility in a way that Jamie didn’t quite manage (sorry Jamie!), reacting in a way that a displaced human would. Having fought in some brutal conflicts Nick is disaffected and disillusioned with war. He's also seen more than your average regency dandy which shows when he returns home; having to hold back his modern attitudes rankles on him understandably.
The Guild doesn’t let him jump alone. His travelling companion, the Russian Arkady Lebedev is amusing and yet sinister as the uncertainty where his and others' motives lie keep the pages turning at a cracking rate. As for the beautiful Julia, she has a trick or two up her sleeve as well. And Mr Mibbs? He doesn't appear the sort you'd invite home to dinner.
The true test of a novel in our house is its fate: shelf or charity shop bag? The River is not only a definite shelf book, I have a feeling that on the strength of this anything Bee writes will be joining it.
If this appeals and you enjoy the supernatural with your timeslip, then A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is the way to go. If you prefer a bit of excitement mixed with a lot of charm, then we also recommend Ferney by James Long. Or you could read them both. Go on… treat yourself.
You can read more book reviews or buy The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.