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The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

The River of No Return

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June 2013 Debut of the Month.

What an original and engaging debut. Who would have thought you could have put romance, science fiction, magic, historical fiction and time travel into such an unforgettable story. If you loved The Time Traveler's Wife or The Night Circus then prepare to be swept away by this stunning novel.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The River of No Return a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'The River of No Return is an incredible debut novel, gripping from the very beginning' - Nicola Crisp. Scroll down to read more reviews.

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The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

'Time is like a river. It always flows in one direction.' What if everything you thought was certain was not? 1812: On a lonely battlefield in Spain, Lord Nicholas Falcott, Marquess of Blackdown, is about to die...

But, the next moment, he inexplicably jumps forward in time, nearly two hundred years - very much alive. Taken under the wing of a mysterious organisation, The Guild , he receives everything he could ever need under the following conditions: He can't go back. He can't go home. He must tell no one. Accepting his fate, Nicholas begins a life of luxury as a twenty-first century New York socialite, living happily thus for the next ten years. But, when an exquisite wax sealed envelope brings a summons from the Alderwoman of The Guild , Nicholas is forced to confront his nineteenth century past. Back in 1815, Julia Percy's world has fallen apart. Her enigmatic grandfather, the Earl of Darchester, has died and left her with a closely guarded secret, one she is only now discovering - the manipulation of time. In terrible danger from unknown enemies, Julia flees her home to the sanctuary of neighbouring Falcott House. In this strange place Julia and a recently returned Nicholas are drawn to each other and together they realise how little Julia knew about her beloved grandfather and begin to understand his ominous last words...'Pretend.'


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review The River of No Return. You can read their reviews below.

Dawn Lynch - 'I enjoyed reading The Time Traveler's Wife so this book instantly appealed to me...The great details made me feel like I was watching the story unfold.' Click here to read the full review.

Nicola Crisp - 'The River of No Return is an incredible debut novel, gripping from the very beginning...I couldn’t put it down and I hope that there will be a sequel soon.' Click here to read the full review.

Lynda DeFreitas - 'A love story, an historical novel, time travel, intrigue and secret societies all converge in this author's imagination to produce an enthralling story that's nearly impossible to put down.' Click here to read the full review.

Cyllene Griffiths - 'Underlying the escapism of the main storyline are real world concerns about power, money, trust and strength of character. The historical scenes are absorbing, the concepts and philosophy, captivating. A sequel must be on its way and I, for one, will be waiting!' Click here to read the full review.

Elisabeth Thomas - 'This is a stunning novel that spans 200 years. It is not only a time travel novel; it is a romance and thriller all rolled into one...A fantastic read!' Click here to read the full review.

Julie Bickerdyke - 'Bee Ridgway has created a compelling and wonderful story in The River of No Return. The book is long but necessarily so as the story is involved and your interest is held intensely throughout.' Click here to read the full review.

Sallyann Spittle - 'The novel is cleverly written, enthralling, inspiring and imaginative and the Regency era is really wonderfully described.' Click here to read the full review.

Sian Spinney - 'The River of No Return is a story that takes you on a journey but one of time rather than of roads... Well worth giving up a weekend for.' Click here to read the full review.

Sylvia Willigale - 'Overall I enjoyed the concept of time travel and the narrative of the novel. The novel itself was interesting but not particularly memorable.' Click here to read the full review.

Carolyn Huckfield - 'What a fantastic story...This is an extremely complex story and we don’t learn all the answers in this one book.' Click here to view the full review.

Michelle Gray - 'I was very keen to read this book. I find the whole idea of time travel fascinating and to begin with the book delivered. The narrative was fast paced and kept your attention and I thought this would be a good summer read by the pool.' Click here to read the full review.

Carol Peace - 'there was romance, intrigue, and even amusing parts to it. It almost makes you believe that time can be traversed… Five stars to this book I would thoroughly recommend it.' Click here to read the full review.

Magda North - 'I wanted to like this book more than I did. The raw ingredients are very promising; a compelling sensuous romance between the main characters Nick and Julia against the backdrop of time travel.' Click here to view the full review.

Joy Bosworth - 'This book had me hooked on the social ramifications of someone switching centuries...the author has a way of covering diverse subjects and making them very interesting and it feels as if this, her first novel, is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope this is just the start.' Click here to view the full review.

Nicola Foster - - 'The premise for this book sounded magnificently creative, but for me failed to deliver after what was a very readable beginning.' Click here to read the full review.

Maggie Crane - 'This book was interesting, fascinating, compulsive reading, believable in a strange way, but somewhat disjointed in places as though the author lost the thread at various points.' Click here to read the full review.

About the Author

Bee Ridgway

Bee Ridgway grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts. She attended Oberlin College (B.A.), then worked for a year as an editorial assistant at Elle magazine. She studied literature at Cornell University (M.A. and Ph.D.). She spent several years living in the U.K. during her studies. She has worked at Bryn Mawr College since 2001. She lives in Philadelphia, PA.

Below is a Q&A with this author.

1. If I had to describe my mood in one word, it would be:

Right now, this minute, with my book coming out in a few short weeks? I’m shivering with anticipation!
2. You might not know this about me, but I:
Played the tuba in high school.
3. When I’m feeling down, I find that I’m always cheered up by:
It depends on what kind of down. If I’m down/angry, Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. His grumpiness always carries mine away. If I’m down/sorrowful, make me a cup of hot orange tea with honey, wrap me up in my granny’s wool afghan, and pop me in front of a comic Cary Grant movie.
4. Three things on my desk right now are:
A magnetic paperclip holder in the shape of a lime green hedgehog (the clips become his quills), a bookstand with a copy of A Wrinkle in Time signed to me by L’Engle, a cup of coffee from last week that I haven’t brought downstairs to wash yet . . . yuck.
5. My favourite children’s book was:
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. And about sixty other equally good ones.
6. If I could live in a book, that book would be:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
7. My most-watched movie would have to be:
Singin’ in the Rain. It played every year in a double feature in my hometown cinema, alongside The Sound of Music. Talk about a sugar high! But honestly, Singin’ in the Rain has got to be one of the greatest movies of all time. “Whaddaya think I yam? Dumb or sumthin?”
8. If my house was on fire, the one thing I’d rescue would be:
OK, I don’t want to tempt fate here because that is a big fear of mine – having my house burn down. So this is all in the realm of the imagination! Assuming all living creatures are safely outside, and my computer and music safely backed up, I would save the afghan and the quilt made by my grandmother.
9. My cooking speciality is:
We are cooking fiends in my household. But right now, along with the rest of the world, we are obsessed with Yotam Ottolenghi. That man is some kind of angelic genius. We’ve been really grooving on his black pepper tofu recipe from Plenty. And no, I’m not a vegetarian. But that stuff is like crack cocaine.
10. I attribute my success so far most to:
A sense of humor, Lady Luck, and the ability to keep a secret.
11. I know it’s a little weird, but I think:
Gene Wilder is kind of sexy in Young Frankenstein
12. The person whose opinion matters most to me is:
My own. I know that sounds arrogant, but I’ve really struggled to learn to like myself. When I am able to be proud of myself or pleased with something I’ve accomplished . . . well, it’s a great feeling.
13. If an unpublished writer asked me for advice, I’d tell them:
Don’t write alone. Find someone who loves to read your work and who tells you what’s great about it, what works, what makes them happy. Always work from the growing edge of positive reinforcement.
14. The one thing I wish I’d known 10 years ago is:
You’re sexy if you’re happy.
15. The best advice I ever got was:
I have had so much fantastic advice in my life, and have been blessed with such generous mentors. But last week I had the pleasure of seeing Patti Smith talk to a group of undergraduates at Bryn Mawr College, where I work, and she gave them this advice, which is, I think, actually the secret to life itself: When you’re young, she said, embarrassment is the thing you fear the most. But when you are old, you realize that that thing that embarrasses you is your creativity. You should run to it, and embrace it.

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Book Info

Publication date

23rd May 2013


Bee Ridgway

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Michael Joseph Ltd an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd




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