Saturday, February 27, 2016

A MURDER IN TIME by Julie McElwain

Publisher:     Pegasus
Published:     April 11, 2016
ISBN:       978-1605989747
Genre:      Time Travel, Historical Romance
Format:    Ebook
Obtained via:  Publisher via Edelweiss
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


FBI agent Kendra Donovan has a unique history and upbringing.  She also has a future she never imagined.  And somewhere in there her future is part and parcel of her past. 

Shot in the middle of an FBI mission Kendra returns to work determined to track down the mastermind of the attack that almost killed her.  When the path leads her to England she puts her training to work and makes her way across the ocean.  There she manages to attend a costume party where she prepares to take down this despicable man.  She sets the stage, ready to put an end to his criminal pursuits when she suddenly finds herself falling down a dark tunnel.  At the other end she finds herself in a room that looks very much like the one she fled from just moments before only it isn’t quite the same.  Instead of lamps there are candles.  Instead of a broken Ming vase there are two sitting there with nary a scratch.  And the people at the party, while dressed very much like the affair she just left, something is very different.  It gives Kendra pause and at times she wonders at her own sanity when she finds she has travelled through time to 1813. 

Kendra is not the only one baffled by her sudden appearance in 1813.  Alec, the heir to Aldrich castle is at first cautious and then fascinated by the woman who has dropped into the midst of his home.  Deemed a maid by Alec’s uncle, the Duke, she is quickly drawn into the events happening around her.  Kendra walks a fine line between an American essentially lost in England and her hosts discovering she is from another time.  Rather than have them think she is mad (as in crazy) Kendra tries to adapt.  After all, she doesn’t know how or when she will find her way home some 200 years in the future.  But when a young woman’s body is found at the castle Kendra’s training comes to the fore and she is soon on the trail of what she is sure a serial killer. 

I’ve been a fan of time travel romance since reading Kristin Hannah’s When Lightning Strikes some 22 years ago.  There is just something so intriguing about the idea of not matter how much time or space a man or woman needs to transcend, love will find a way to bring two people together.  When I saw the blurb for Julie McElwain’s A MURDER IN TIME I had to pick it up.  What could be better than a modern day female FBI profiler finding herself in the middle of the search for an early 19th century serial killer?  I anticipated a really super historical - romance - time travel.  The story was okay, but not the page turner with toe curling romance I was looking forward to.  I never quite warmed up to Kendra, the heroine.  I felt at times that the author had a number of characteristics that she wanted to include—and they would have had they been more strongly developed.  Kendra was something akin to a genetically engineered child, a prodigy.  But aside from references to her childhood and how her parents treated her like the experiment she apparently was rather than a loved child, I didn’t see how it made her who she was.  I didn’t see why that honed her skills as a profiler except that she was very bright—which she could have been without that test tube type element. 

She ponders various theories of time travel, but just how she got there is never resolved.  She wonders if she’s lost her mind but aside from thinking about it she doesn’t take any steps to verify it one way or the other.

In terms of the romance it was very mild -- it would be a good intro to a pre- or young teen except for the crude language Kendra uses.  It is definitely language we hear every day in the present but I’m not sure I’d want my pre-teen daughter reading it.  Kendra does have one solid epiphany about the population of 1813 which was well done. 

I enjoyed how she analysed the different crime scenes and put her knowledge of profiling to work to find the killer.  And her observations during autopsy were nicely done. 

SPOILER ALERT – What turned me off on the book, however, was the lack of a conclusion.  I’m not sure if the author intended the reader to think on his or her own ending or if it is one of those increasingly used ploys of having a “cliff-hanger” being used as a device to get the reader to buy the next book I the series.

It's a good read if you don't want too deep a story.   A little romance, a little humor, a good mystery. 

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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