The River of No Return - Bee Ridgway My first job out of school was as a temp, writing product descriptions for the website of a company that sold scientific equipment to labs and schools and the like. I hated it. But I had a coworker who made the time there a lot more fun because he was a whackadoodle kind of guy. When he wasn't writing about beakers and syringes for this company, he was writing plays. He gave me one of his plays to read and, though I can't remember all of the details, it featured two characters that spent a lot of time discussing the rules of time travel as represented in various movies.

That was probably the first time in my life that I ever really thought about the logic of time travel.

I mean, I've read some time travel books and watched some time travel movies and television shows before. I've just never put a lot of thought into the rules of how it works, you know?

This book is about Nick, a man who was about to be killed in battle in 1812 but suddenly finds that he has been transported to 2003 instead. He is met in the future by a representative of The Guild, a shadowy organization that supports people who have been transported through time. Nick's been set up with a new life as a dairy farmer in the future, having been versed in enough science and pop culture to pass as something other than a nineteenth century aristocrat. Meanwhile, back in 1815, his former neighbor Julia's grandfather has died and her spiteful cousin is taking over his earldom. Julia unknowingly holds the secret to time travel in the form of a Talisman left behind by her grandfather, and Nick is sent back in time to find the Talisman.

I think fans of time travel and steampunkish things will like this a lot more than I did, and I'd very much recommend checking this out if you are one of those folks. It seemed a bit like what The Night Circus tried to be mixed with The Time Traveler's Wife, combining romance, intrigue, and supernatural elements. I think the book was actually pretty good -- better than my three-star level of enjoyment might suggest -- but two things kept me from really getting into it: the emotions-as-time-travel-tool (I'm sorry, that seemed kind of cheesy to me) and the fact that the historical scenes felt very anachronistic. Still, I think the book was wonderfully imaginative and the love story was actually interesting -- no insta-love here!