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The River of No Return: "Why when we talk about time travel do we always have to kill Hitler or not kill Hitler!"


The River of No Return is about time travel. An English lord in the middle of a battle in 1812 suddenly time travels to 2013, where he's taken care of by an organization called the Guild, who set up new lives for people who jump through time. In 1815, a girl named Julia is in a precarious situation, as her grandfather (who can play with time) dies and her asshole cousin moves in. SO MANY THINGS HAPPEN. But I don't want to spoil them, so that is the premise and you should read it.

The only reason I'm relatively sure the author did not write this after talking with me about how to write my favorite book is that the main character is a gentleman. An INTERESTING gentleman, but a gentleman nonetheless. But it opens with a lady, who could very easily have been a Mary Sue 'look how clever and witty I am' sort of character, but she manages to sidestep that — a fact for which I am most grateful.

I read it in like four days. Which is, as you know, ridiculous for me. I didn't read other books. When I couldn't bring it with me (it's a hefty hardcover) I was SADDENED because I couldn't read more of it. This usually only happens for me with Rainbow Rowell's books.

It's so easy to get time travel wrong. It's the BEST STORY IDEA, but you can just muck it up in so many ways. Time and Again by Jack Finney sucks, Time Traveler's Wife sucks, Outlander is good for what it is (time travel romance novel hurray!), but you can put in too many historical figures, become too didactic, get overly obsessed with the science of it, get bogged down in "Ooh look at the Past!" and Bee Ridgway does NONE OF THIS.

She doesn't talk down to the reader. You don't know a term? This is the 21st century -- look it up. I had no idea what a hussif was, nor was Ms. Ridgway going to tell me. Thank God. There wasn't even one of those obnoxious glossaries at the front. "Here're some terms you might not know!" No. Bee Ridgway is having none of that. You teach yourself that shit.

Bee Ridgway gives precisely NO bothers

The book spends a good amount of time in 1815, and somehow convinced me in the course of it that the author had firsthand knowledge of what it was like, which is pretty damn impressive. My brain: "Oh, so THAT'S what the air smelled like. Good thing we have someone alive with this knowledge...wait."

ALSO THERE ARE SEXYTIMES. If you're weirdly squeamish about that sort of thing for some unknown reason, then I guess this might not be for you? Way to limit yourself, sir or ma'am. I'll have you know there is making out in a forest against a tree, aka THE BEST KIND OF MAKING OUT.

Like this, but with a dude

My sole complaint is that when it ended, I panic-flipped through the acknowledgements and author bio. "THERE HAS TO BE MORE," I said, as Doug -- famed friend and co-worker -- stood there, frozen and unsure how to help. But I have been told that there will be a sequel. Good. That's good. Because as the pages become fewer and fewer in number, you think 'But....there's this unanswered question. And this one. And this one!' And the book makes no indication that a sequel is forthcoming. But rest assured. It is. 

Finally, the main character's name is Nicholas Falcott, Marquess of Blackdown. And just...omg. Do you really need anything else? I don't think so. 


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