Caught in Time
#3 A Kendra Donovan Mystery
by Julie McElwain
Narrated by Lucy Rayner
Time Travel Romantic Suspense
Formats available: Paperback, Electronic, Audio
Pub Date: 7.3.18
17 hours 32 minutes
REVIEWER: Sophia Rose
MP3 provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Still stranded in 1815, FBI agent Kendra Donovan finds herself on the trail of a vicious murderer with a shocking secret.
October 1815: There is only one place Kendra Donovan wants to travel—back to her own time period in the twenty-first century. But since that’s not happening, she agrees instead to travel with her new guardian, the Duke of Aldridge, to one of his smaller estates in Lancashire. Their journey takes them through Yorkshire, a region whose breathtaking beauty masks a simmering violence brought on by the Industrial Revolution, which pits mill owner against worker.
When Kendra and the Duke encounter a band of Luddites on a lonely, fog-shrouded road, the Duke informs the authorities in the nearby village of East Dingleford that mischief may have been done at the local mill. However, it isn’t just mischief but murder that is discovered, when the body of the mill manager, Mr. Stone, is found brutally bludgeoned to death in his office.https://tantor.com/caught-in-time-julie-mcelwain.html
Caught in Time is the third installment in an engaging series where a modern female FBI agent lands in Regency England and finds herself solving crime the old-fashioned way while attempting to adjust to her new life without modern conveniences or women’s equality.
Each book has some darkness and grit to them along with some good internal struggles that give them layers beyond a typical historical suspense/mystery. I’ve found the author really delves deep into what it would truly be like for a woman to be snatched out of her own time and thrust two centuries into the past. At times, I get frustrated with Kendra for resisting so hard, but part of me knows that I would be none too keen to accept such a fate, either.
But, for Kendra, it goes much deeper. She is greatly affected by her past. Her parents were an arranged match strictly because they believed in the power of strong genetics. They wanted to procreate genius children and had no desire to actually parent them. Kendra was fourteen when she was thrust from her family home because she resisted the life plan her eccentric scientist parents set before her. Her parents’ ‘family planning’ was renowned the world over as a sensation in the news so that she couldn’t get away from knowing smirks by fellow students when she was in university at the age of fourteen and then colleagues when she busted tail to prove herself with the FBI as a profiler and then field agent. All this past history led to a need for ruthless control and a shutdown of emotion so that starting over in the past and having little to no control left her flailing when the gentle and generous Duke of Aldridge takes her into as his ward and the handsome, wealthy Marquis, the duke’s nephew falls in love with her. She can’t get past seeing herself as a freak and being abandoned by family so she can’t let herself believe in their love and care.
So, that is the background of Kendra that is always percolating in these stories. Again, I say the author got her right. She’s prickly and challenging for relationships, but also leads with her stubborn chin when dealing with the social mores of the Regency time she now lives in. I would occasionally get frustrated with her, like in earlier books, because she takes a black and white approach to the past with an arrogant- modern ways are always better, when they’re not- we don’t live in a utopia here- and she can also dash headlong into danger because she has a need to prove she’s a strong, independent person.
It was heartbreaking and frustrating when she encountered a poor farmer’s wife trapped in a marriage to a man who emotionally and physically abuses her and there are no repercussions because back then married women are the chattel of their husbands and it would make her a social pariah and destitute if she tried to leave him. Kendra didn’t turn a blind eye and did what she could for this poor woman.
She’s good at solving murders and this latest is a cunning challenge that pushes her to the near breaking point. A man no one likes is brutally murdered and then other murders follow. Kendra has plenty of suspects and even has strong suspicions, but the hard facts are tough to come by. With the duke to lend her credence with the local law enforcement and the Yorkshire village where they are staying, she takes things step by step to the shocking conclusion. Like Kendra, I had my suspicions and I was right even about part of the big surprise twist. The author took things to a breathless and riveting conclusion that have big repercussions for Kendra and future installments in the series.
I listened to the audio edition with Lucy Rayner narrating. I have a love-hate thing with her narration of this series. Part of me revels in her British accents, class voices, and even her ability to do male- even though the older upper class men voices get stuffy and nasally- and female voices, but the other part of me dislikes the sing-song little girl voice she does for Kendra who is a 30 year old veteran FBI agent. Sometimes I could be so caught up in the story that I would barely notice and other times it would pull me right out of the story. So, mixed feelings, there.
All in all, this is a unique blend of time travel and romantic suspense that doesn’t go at a time travelers life lightly and offers a dark, gritty murder with a smidge of romance. I can definitely recommend the series.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.