“Julia sat beside her gradfather’s bed, holding his hand. The fifth Earl of Darchester was dying.”
To call this plot convoluted is an understatement. Lord Nicholas Falcott, Marquess of Blackdown, cheats death on a battlefield in Spain in 1812 by jumping nearly two hundred years into the future. He accustoms himself to life as a New York socialite and cheese farm patron, until the Guild demands their pound of flesh and sends him to confront his 19th century past. Meanwhile, when the ancient Earl of Darchester dies leaving his teenage granddaughter estate-less, and the evil cousin turns up to take over things, well… it gets messier.
It’s been a while since I read this, and the difficulty I am having in remembering anything about it belies the enjoyment of reading it. Or perhaps that’s exactly it – it’s frothier than The Time Traveller’s Wife, with a less random mechanism of time travel, and a much larger world construct which makes considerably less sense. In essence it is a love story with one protagonist struggling across the centuries and an epoch-old conflict to find the other. There is an abundance of amusing note-taking on current and past cultures, particularly class and gender structures.
But in the end, nothing is resolved, and the characters are boilerplate romance standards – she is beautiful and independent but hamstrung by the conventions of the time, he is handsome and dashing and sensitive etc.
It was only as I googled for a picture of the cover to insert into this review that I discovered that the title of the book is the name of a Western film starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe. I assume that the allusion is intentional, but I cannot figure out why.
Borrow, read on a plane, leave on the plane.Copy kindly provided by LoveReading.co.uk and the publisher in return for an honest review, so long ago that I have given up ever reviewing it for LoveReading. Publisher: Penguin, 546 pages (hardback). Order The River of No Returnfrom Amazon* * this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting