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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time travel plus - exciting and plausible
I love the imagination that goes into time travel stories and this one for me found a new dimension. I loved this book and found it exhilarating and absorbing, from the moment when Lord Nicholas Falcott finds himself torn from certain death on a European battlefield in 1812 and deposited in London in 2013 to an ending when, back in England after many adventures, he finds...
Published 17 months ago by Penny Waugh

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - I wanted to love it!
I really wanted to love this book. In this digital, slimline age, there's something really satisfying about holding a doorstop-book in your hands and getting ready to delve in. None of this pussy footing around with a novella! I set out with all the commitment a great read requires.

I was willing to overlook the slightly slow and clumsy first few chapters-...
Published 13 months ago by ChickLitLove


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time travel plus - exciting and plausible, 14 Feb 2013
By 
Penny Waugh "A reader" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The River of No Return (Hardcover)
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I love the imagination that goes into time travel stories and this one for me found a new dimension. I loved this book and found it exhilarating and absorbing, from the moment when Lord Nicholas Falcott finds himself torn from certain death on a European battlefield in 1812 and deposited in London in 2013 to an ending when, back in England after many adventures, he finds 2013 is not quite as he left it. Finding himself a 'time jumper' he learns of the Guild that advises and controls people like him, is trained in the ways of the world he has reached, told firmly that he can never return to his own time, spends ten happy years in America, and then finds himself after all sent back in time to three years after he left, as a Guild agent investigating a parallel and supposedly rogue group of time travellers, the Ofan. Plunged into Regency England, but with his memories of the 21st century intact he finds intrigue, love and explanations, many of them suspect. I very much enjoyed Nick's approach to his situation and the way he deals with whatever comes his way.
This is romantic fantasy and I did find the romance snarled up the story at times, but that is just my reaction. Nick's romantic interest is Julia, a girl reared by a very strange grandfather who finds herself at his death, in possession of certain powers, mainly the ability to 'freeze' and manipulate time. As always in these stories, Nick and Julia do not confide in each other immediately, which leads to confusion, action and a rattling good story.
I loved the detail in this book. I thought the time travel element was well worked out and quite fascinating. Whether in modern or Regency London Nick is aware of what the city was before for him and this gave the usual Regency round of balls, fashion and gossip an added and welcome dimension. I loved the parts where different periods of history combined, such as the time travel point of the Ofan where 1980 packets of crisps (Lamb and Mint) were available and enjoyed and nobody's clothes from whatever period raised an eyebrow. Nobody in this book is exactly what they seem; relationships are complex, but I found that nearly all of the characters had immense vitality and I was more than happy to travel with them. The explanation of the Guild and their manipulation of time seemed at the time of reading to be totally plausible.
A book to be savoured, and as the ending is certainly left open I look forward to more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time Travel, thriller, historical romance, adventure story . . ., 11 Mar 2013
By 
Mrs. K. A. P. Wright - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The River of No Return (Hardcover)
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This has been described as a story of love and time travel. It is, but it is also more than that - thriller, ethical debate into the nature of what is right and wrong, adventure story.

The first people we meet are Julia and her grandfather, the Earl of Darchester, who is dying. We learn quite a lot about them and their relationship and that he can play with time. Then, fed up with the process of dying, Darchester speeds up time and dies, leaving Julia at the mercy of the new earl, the vile Eamon.

Then we move forward in time to New England in 2013 where we meet Nick Davenant, farm landlord, rich dilettante who is prepared to sleep with the new cheese inspector (fortuitously young and passably attractive) to ensure that their illegal soft cheeses are not discovered. Lying awake, beside the sleeping cheese inspector, Nick reviews his life and he has a lot of life to review - in 1812 about to be killed on a battlefield in the Peninsula War he has jumped two hundred years into the future. He has been met by representatives of the Guild who whisk him off to Chile to indoctrinate him in the ways of the twenty-first century. He is told that he may never go back to England, but will be resettled in the USA with a massive income. All he has to do is obey the rules:

There is No Return, Tell No One, Uphold the Rules.

It all seems very simple and Nick loves the life of the rich in 2013. The only thing that has not gone well is that his two friends, Leo and Meg, having expressed criticism of the Guild have disappeared. He fears that they have been killed by an individual they have nicknamed Mr Mibbs, who has talked to Leo and has terrified them. Despite this, Nick settles in Vermont and has a happy life until he gets a Summons Direct from one of the leaders of the Guild to break the rules and fly to Heathrow.

In London, he learns a bit more about the Guild and Time Travel. The Guild has a job for him. He must travel back to his own time and discover what he can about the Ofan, a rival group of time travellers who threaten the safety of the world. From then on everything gets more complicated.

Apart from a dip in the middle, this is a pacy, exciting book that pulls you along with the action. As with all time travel books, I was looking for holes in the plot, but most points were covered well, but not all loose ends were answered so perhaps there is another book in the pipeline. I look forward to it with interest.

I would give this book five stars if it weren't for the dip in the middle which nearly made me give up on it. I'm glad I persevered, because the action did pick up again and I regained interest in what was happening.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Multi-layered page turner, 17 April 2013
By 
marcoscu "marcoscu" (Chorley,UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The River of No Return (Hardcover)
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Clever, engaging and very readable - if not entirely original and unpredictable - with a little bit of Time Travellers Wife, a little bit of Jonathan Strange. Georgette Heyer is an acknowledged influence - but then, what is entirely original? Every author is inspired by the stories that went before. The River of No Return is a time travel book with a big love story at its heart and a dash of espionage and intrigue. It's a big book (584 pages) but a fast and easy read. A genuine page-turner with heart and soul.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous roller coaster of a read!, 12 Jun 2013
This review is from: The River of No Return (Hardcover)
This was a fabulous roller coaster of a read. It's fast paced, exciting and very much a romp through time. It begins with the Marquess of Blackdown, Lord Nicholas Falcott, time-travelling to the 21st century from 1815 to avoid being killed in battle and his being enrolled in a society called 'The Guild' who specialise in such people as him. He is told he can never return to his previous life but one day he receives a summons which negates this rule. He then finds himself once again in battle, but in this instance against time itself!

Time slip/dual timeframe novels are one of my favourite genres and this book exceeded my expectations. I found it an imaginative and absorbing tale, evocatively told and it had a good sense of time and place in both the present day and the 19th century. It was intriguing, believable and I was easily transported between the eras.

There's a good element of mystery to the story and I loved that no-one was quite who they seemed. The characters were well drawn and interesting. They felt very real and came vividly to life, a sign of a good author for me.

A thrilling historical fantasy adventure with a smidgen of romance, an excellent debut. It was a definite page turner! I look forward with eager anticipation to Bee Ridgway's next instalment in this wonderful new series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - I wanted to love it!, 29 May 2013
I really wanted to love this book. In this digital, slimline age, there's something really satisfying about holding a doorstop-book in your hands and getting ready to delve in. None of this pussy footing around with a novella! I set out with all the commitment a great read requires.

I was willing to overlook the slightly slow and clumsy first few chapters- after all, setting up for time travel is no mean feat... and when the story kicked in, I was hooked, or so I thought... At the time of my first tweet whilst reading this book, I said that this was a novel for which it would be worth investing in the hardback. I'm very sad to say, I have to retract that statement.

There are two main problems with this book. The first that it is too long- I've already said that I like a good, long read, but using the words of another reviewer- this is a long book with an excellent smaller book desperate to break out. Don't get me wrong- parts of it were thrilling, and had me reading at all hours. Unfortunately, these were outweighed by other parts which felt like wading through tar. The second problem, and very much linked to the first is that this book ignores the "show don't tell" writers' 101. There was exciting stuff going on, but it seemed to be happening mainly between the chapter and scene breaks- only to be reported back to the reader second or third hand.

Finally, the ending... if this is meant to be a stand-alone novel, I was left extremely unsatisfied with a bucket-full of plot points (the most interesting ones) left unsettled, or even unattended to. If it is meant to be a part of a series or trilogy... I just don't have the patience to wade through more of the same to get to the answers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, mysterious and exciting!, 21 May 2013
This review is from: The River of No Return (Hardcover)
Firstly I'd like to thank the publishers for sending me an uncorrected proof copy of this book to read and give an honest review. I was thoroughly intrigued by the blurb and couldn't wait to start reading it!

Right from the start I was captivated by the wonderful writing and intriguing storyline - initially I was in 1815 with Julia and her grandfather, I was given just enough information to let me know what was going on but also to tease me with a mystery or two. Then I met Nick who was in 2013 at that time, I knew he was a time traveller from reading the blurb so I was keen to hear about his life and I looked forward to finding out the exact details of how he got there. Nick repeatedly mentioned `the girl with the dark eyes' and I couldn't wait to find out who she was and how he knew her - yet another exciting mystery to solve.

Reading about the moment Nick first jumped through time was fantastic and one of my favourite parts of the book, I particularly enjoyed Nick's reaction to modern-day items and I imagined finding myself in the same situation - how bizarre every day items would seem to someone from that time. By that point I was fully immersed in the wonderfully imaginative world of time travel, secrets and mystery that I couldn't put the book down if I had wanted to!

The Guild was a bit of a puzzle for me to begin with, it claimed to provide everything a time traveller would need and nothing was required in return, but I had an uncomfortable feeling about it and didn't totally trust the people in charge. Nick attended their future school where he learned how to be a modern man, it was here that I discovered a few of the schools students felt the same way I did about the Guild and this was another factor that held my interest so completely.

After Julia's grandfather had passed away I learned a little bit more about the art of playing with time and this was something else I had been looking forward to. Obviously as the story progressed I learned more of the finer details of `jumping' and by the end I felt rather knowledgeable on the subject . Julia's cousin Eamon had taken her grandfathers title but he was a nasty man who was after the secret of time for himself and unfortunately for Julia he made his horrible presence felt on more than one occasion.

When Nick made his return to 1815 it was everything I had hoped it would be - mixing his knowledge of the future with the reality of that time was not easy for him and I found myself waiting for him to slip up and reveal something he shouldn't! Romance was also made more difficult because Nick had grown accustomed to ladies of the 21st century who weren't quite as innocent as the ladies from his own time.

What followed was incredibly exciting, it was full of time travelling rules and politics that sometimes became quite dangerous. The story was imaginative but the author had written it in such a way that it somehow felt believable and maybe even a little bit possible (my imagination certainly ran away with me while I was reading it). The ending seemed to indicate that there is more to come and if that is the case then I am so excited about what lies ahead!

This was an addictive, mysterious and exciting read that captured my imagination entirely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quantum Leap for girls, 16 May 2013
This review is from: The River of No Return (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a science fiction historical romance.

It begins interestingly enough during the Peninsular War, where a young man on the brink of death jumps - Quantum Leap style - into the future. As he finds out what has happened to him, falling in love along the way, he understands why he is jumping and how to control it. After some very original twists and turns, it all ends as happily as you would expect.

It sounds preposterous. It shouldn't work. But it does and it's great fun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming time travel romp - hugely enjoyable, 15 May 2013
By 
Arkgirl (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The River of No Return (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At nearly 600 pages it might seem long but it flashed by at the 'speed of light' - history, humour, romance and fantasy adds up to a great read and I'm really hoping there will be a sequel.
Back in 1815, Julia is the first main character introduced sitting with her dying grandfather who, despite his illness, has one last chance to display his talents with time. Moving forward nearly 200 years Nick [Nicholas] is a wealthy young man with a secret - he managed to move forward in time escaping his almost certain death during a Peninsula War battle in 1812.
Nick has attained his wealth and position because of 'The Guild' but now they are asking him to break the rules and go back. Can he trust them? Does he want to go back as he enjoys the 21st Century and his current lifestyle.
This is an incredibly fun romp using the time travel twist without a huge amount of explanation - a fact that doesn't bother me but might spoil it for some readers. Nick and Julia are engaging characters but there are others that you warm to and are fleshed out well - I loved Arkady, a Russian count, but the unpleasant Eamon was a little 2 dimensional.
Although the time travel elements and fantasy add an interesting twist the period book was the more enjoyable for me and as a Georgette Heyer fan I can see elements of the humour and fun of her books interspersed with the real historical elements, places and characters.
I stayed up late to finish it - always a good sign for the 'enjoyability' levels of a book. A great debut.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever Time Travel, 30 April 2013
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The River of No Return (Hardcover)
On the back of the proof copy, The River of No Return is being marketed as a debut novel "that will delight all readers of The Time Traveler's Wife". This sentence in itself would have been enough to put me off reading the novel, I'm one of those rare specimens that really did not like The Time Traveler's Wife although I loved Niffenegger's second novel; Her Perfect Symmetry.

So, to the story itself. I would certainly recommend that if you are going to read this, please set aside a good chunk of time to read the first 100 or so pages in one sitting. This is where the scene is set, and much of the explanation regarding the 'time jumping' is explained. Sadly, I had to read this in smaller snatches between work and meetings and I will admit that at times I found this first part quite difficult to follow. However, once past this rather long introduction, and firmly back in the year 1815, I was able to immerse myself into the story. And what an interesting, unusual and entertaining story this is. Bee Ridgway has a real gift, she is able to tell a story that spans centuries, that merges together two very different eras with ease and with humour.
The writing style is precise and flows very well and incorporates some fine historical detail, it is clear that Ridgway had spent time researching the settings for the novel and nineteenth century London is particularly well portrayed.

The lead characters; Julia and Nick are so well drawn, especially Nick who struggles so much as he leaps through time - from the battlefields of Spain in 1812, to modern life in 2013 and back again to the nineteenth century. The time-travelling element of the story is pure science-fiction; from The Guild who oversee all of the travellers to the mysterious Orfan who are the enemy, and although science-fiction/fantasy is not a great love of mine, once I had understood the concept, it really did work very well.

For me, this is a 4 star read. It is an impressive debut, very original and well thought out, and the book really is beautiful. I did think that it is maybe a little too long, and I had some difficulty in really getting hooked into the story right at the beginning. However, saying that, I do think that fans of this particular genre are going to love it - I'm positive that Bee Ridgway will have much success with The River Of No Return and I'd like to wish her all the very best for many more future successes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MUCH TO INTRIGUE AND TO IMPRESS, 7 April 2013
By 
Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The River of No Return (Hardcover)
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Time is a river. Without realizing, some unexpected people can control it. The mysterious Guild painstakingly seeks them out, so they may be groomed and put to good use. Facing imminent death in 1812's Battle of Salamanca, nobleman Nick lands up two hundred years in the future. He is exactly what the Guild needs....

There is much to enjoy here - especially in the first half, with the writer so impressively venturing back and forth. This ambitious novel (almost 600 pages) works well on several levels. At its heart is the 1815 love story of dashing Nick and delightful Julia (she also an unaware timeshifter). Bane of her life is mad, truly villainous Earl Eamon (he destined for gory comeuppance, one cannot help hoping). With important parts to play are many colourful people who are not always what they seem.

Ever-increasing is a very real problem. The River of Time needs to flow smoothly. Some seem intent on preventing this, their reckless manipulations in danger of causing the river to double back on itself - then the future will simply cease to be, the reversed current gradually proceeding to erase present and past. The hunt is on for the saboteurs. Top priority!

Strengths include evocative descriptions (especially of London then and now), a whole host of intriguing characters, historical insights (prepare to learn more than you might wish about the proposed Corn Bill), and thoughtproking changed attitudes (Nick, with 2013 concepts, is shocked on returning to 1815 to see how women and workers are treated).

Not all is perfect. The novel could do with a trim. There are too many lengthy explanations (some repetitive), too much discussion about the concept of Time itself. The tale is at its best when concentrating on people and places, rather less appealing when dealing with abstracts.

At the end of it all certain issues are resolved, but quite a lot still remains to be sorted. Is a sequel planned or should the reader be left wanting more? Time will tell.

(Likely to raise a chuckle is the truth about that lacquered box that so mystifies in 1815.)

Recommended.
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The River of No Return
The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway (Hardcover - 23 May 2013)
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