The River of No Return
I can’t stop thinking about this book!
I’ll admit, Ridgeway’s debut novel might not be for everyone. The time-travel elements put the story on the border of sci-fi, but the rules of this reality aren’t overwhelming. Nice touches of magic, but ultimately it’s the characters driving the narrative (think The Time Travelers Wife, or The Night Circus).
In 1815 Nick is in the midst of battle, about to die, when he unwittingly jumps forward in time to 2003. Picked up by the “Guild,” Nick is taught how to assimilate, given an enormous chunk of money, and sent off to live a new life. For nine years, Nick languishes in New England, making cheese, boozing and carousing like the English marquess he used to be. It’s all fun and games until the Guild decides he can be of use.
Back in 1815, Julia is being held captive by a cousin who is certain she knows the secret to their grandfather’s ability to manipulate time. It isn’t long before Julia discovers she has gifts of her own, which will both aid her in the escape from her cousin, and put her on the Guild’s radar as a potential threat.
A lively cast of characters are woven throughout, (a wily Russian aristocrat, a revolutionary steward, a beet-preserving prostitute) adding depth and humor. Conspiracy brews and romance blossoms – what more could you ask for in a novel?
I began worrying around the end, loose ends weren’t wrapping up, but turns out there’s another installment to come! Glorious! Now we have something to look forward to!