Saturday 26 January 2013

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

I hadn't heard anything about The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway until I was contacted by the author some weeks ago, and became intrigued by the whole premise of the story and was totally captivated by the beautiful cover.

Funnily enough, I then received a proof copy of the book from Real Readers and started to read a little more about it.  It's a huge book, almost 600 pages in the UK edition, although the author tells me that the USA edition is not quite so big.   Here in the UK, The River of No Return will be published in May 2013 by Penguin Books.

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.

Bee Ridgway
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.  

To find out more about the book visit Bee's website here.  You can find her on Facebook here, and she is also on Twitter here 

You can find out more about Real Readers here 

1 comment:

  1. I didn't like Time Traveller's Wife either. This looks good though...