THE RIVER OF NO RETURN
Ridgway’s debut is a bit of an enigma. Drawing on her background as a professor of American literature, she merges elements of realism, fantasy, romance and mystery into an unusual novel. Her storytelling is inventive, yet readers may find it suffers in its efforts to encompass too many aspects and, as the story draws out, reading becomes tedious. Despite this, it is a tale worth reading for its well crafted writing and Ridgway’s ability to create a fascinating sense of atmosphere and mood.
Nick Falcott awakens in 2003 in a London hospital operated by the Guild, an organization that controls time travel. Their rules mean resettling in another place, and time travelers are prevented from ever returning “home.” Nick is resettled in America. However, he lives in an emotional void, missing his family and girlfriend, Julia Percy. Then, the Guild proposes he break their own rules, hoping to send him back to 1815 to fight off its enemies and find a special talisman. When Julia’s grandfather dies, she inherits a family secret, which may just hold the key to time travel. Successfully landing in 1815 and reunited with Julia, Nick must explore the mysteries of time as the fate of the world hangs in the balance. (DUTTON, Apr., 464 pp., $27.95)