My first though when constructing this review was that I read two books back to back that have almost identical covers. (See Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin) I think I have a type. I would probably believe that more if I picked books for my TBR list based off of their covers, but I do generally go off of the synopses (and yes, I checked, that is the correct way to spell that). Okay, now that I got that out of the way:
Alright so “A Murder In Time” focuses on Kendra Donovan who is the product of two very brilliant, scientific parents who essentially bred her via eugenics (the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics – essentially picking which traits they wanted her to have) so that they could have a very intellectually advanced child. So Kendra grows up pretty much as a science experiment with parents who aren’t quite sure what to do with a child who developed emotions along with her intelligence. She started going to Princeton at the age of 14 and at the age of 18 she finished college with numerous advanced degrees and was immediately hired by the FBI.
Initially, the mission that the book opens with has to do with taking down a Russian with links to a terrorist group. However, the mission changes when the Russian is found to be conspiring with Sir Jeremy Greene and the powers that be decide to go after both of them. Well needless to say see Goodreads for spoiler! Honestly, I felt like this part of the book dragged on a little and I ended up skimming most of it. I felt like it took up much more of the story line than necessary. Almost like the author was afraid of leaving details out. OR I could have just been super eager to get to the time traveling bit. There’s a lot of spoilers here so….
Once we got to the time travel portion of the story. I was HOOKED. All the little quirks that would normally make me squint seemed to make sense. Of course Kendra wouldn’t be able to handle being bad-mouthed by the “ladies” whose hair she was dressing. Of course she wouldn’t know how to address aristocrats. Of course she wouldn’t know where to sit at the servants table and that it would follow the same hierarchy as the upstairs dining room. Of course she wouldn’t be able to blend in that well in 1815. She spent 20-something years of her life accustomed to one way of life to all of a sudden be tossed in to another. I would probably find it difficult to blend in too, while also working on the idea that I possibly lost my mind. And from there I just flew through the book. The body of a young woman is discovered on the estate that Kendra is currently “working” on and she can’t help but be drawn to the body and in to the investigation. A lil baby spoiler here.
I will tell you that Kendra does not make it back to the 21st century by the end of this book (which is not technically a spoiler if you read the synopsis for the second book in this series) so in that sense, there is a cliffhanger because we’re left wondering will she try to, will she be successful, what happened to Sir Jeremy Greene while she was gone, etc. SO MANY QUESTIONS. But as I’m sure was McElwain’s plan, a second book, A Twist in Time, may or may not answer our questions.
This was an interesting take on the time travel thing especially how big of a fan I am of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Claire from Outlander is living in the mid-1940s when she goes back to the 1740s and while society was much more advanced where she’s from, the medical techniques aren’t that different. In that sense, Gabaldon designed Claire so that she would be able to blend in a little bit better than Kendra in this book, while still knowing enough to make her stand out. This is a little bit of a struggle for Kendra considering her times are way more advanced than Claire’s. Though I will say that even though Gabaldon goes in to way more detail about the differences than McElwain, it is still an interesting comparison.
All around a fairly quick, easy read that left me wanting more. Thank you cliffhanger. On to the next…