Bee Ridgway, The River of No Return
Nicholas Falcott, Marquess of Blackdown, is about to die on the battlefield at Salamanca. But instead of being trampled by a French cavalry horse, he suddenly disappears in a blaze of light and reappears in the 21st century. There, Nicholas finds himself under the protection of the Guild, a secret society of individuals with the ability to jump forward in time. The Guild provides Nick with a new identity, plenty of money, and enough information about the modern world for him to survive in the present. Nick believes it’s impossible to go back to his original time — until one day, out of the blue, the Guild leaders order him to do just that. They tell him about a rival group of time travelers whose attempts to change history will result in widespread disaster, unless Nick can go back to 1815 and stop them. But when he jumps back to his own time, he learns that the Guild is keeping secrets from him. He also reconnects with Julia Percy, his beautiful young neighbor who is somehow connected to this feud between time travelers.
This is a book I should have loved: it’s got Regency England, romance, intrigue, and time travel! But sadly, the novel’s underwhelming execution didn’t live up to its great premise. One of the biggest problems for me was the pacing. It took forever to set up the world and introduce Nick and Julia as characters. Once Nick jumps back to 1815 (about 1/4 of the way into the book), things pick up a little, but the pacing still drags. Nothing really important occurs until the last 50 pages or so, when the characters suddenly learn a whole lot of new information at breakneck speed. My other big problem with this novel is that NOTHING IS RESOLVED IN THE END. Nick eventually learns more about the future catastrophe that the time travelers are trying to prevent, but he doesn’t actually do anything about it. So basically, this book is one long setup for a payoff that isn’t going to happen until the sequel — and I don’t think it’s actually been published yet, so it could be a long wait! I’ll admit that I am a bit curious to know how things turn out, but it may not be worth the aggravation this book caused me.