Break time! A review for [A Murder in Time] by Julie McElwain

While I primarily read and review young adult novels, I do occasionally take a break and read adult fiction novels. I’ve decided that I’ll sometimes post about them here, especially if they’re recently released like this one. A Murder in Time was released this past April.


I absolutely adore this cover. So simplistic yet beautiful.

Kendra Donovan is a woman who has focused on her career at the FBI–rising through the ranks as one of the best profilers, she’s on track to being one of the most successful agents. When a mission goes all kinds of wrong, Kendra switches that focus to justice and goes after the man who orchestrated the events of that botched mission. Her private mission is cut short when she is threatened by an assassin herself. Her flight leads her into the secret passageways of the castle, and when she comes out, she finds herself in the same place–but not the same time.

The strengths of this novel lie in the chapters where Kendra is in the past. They’re more vivid and interesting as she navigates living–and keeping the fact that she’s a time-traveler a secret–in a world where women were considered the softer sex. For the gentry of the Regency era, a woman like Kendra is something they’re not used to. She’s brash, speaks her opinion, and doesn’t stick to the conventions of the time. At first it causes a little bit of tension in the house, but as she continues to prove herself, they gradually accept–to them–her eccentricities.

Eventually Kendra believes that her slip into the past was not random; when a young girl is found murdered on the estate, she suddenly finds that she has a reason to be in 1815. Kendra has to go back to the basics of solving a crime because she’s far ahead of the time when DNA and fingerprinting has become the norm. She realizes that she needs to depend on the people around her to help her solve the crime–and that even though they may not have the technology, they certainly have the skills.

I really enjoyed reading how Kendra’s perception of the people around her changed. At first, she trusts no one. It’s natural, because she fears that if she does too much, she may change the future. She’s frustrated with the lack of technology used to solve crimes and takes that out on the people around her. When she accepts that they may not have the tools but they have the intelligence, solving the mystery of who the murderer is becomes easier, but the clock is winding down for the next victim as the serial killer hunts among them. Reading as she adapted, I really grew to like Kendra. She seemed to fit in 1815 better than she fit into the present day, and the relationships she built were realistic.

While time travel can be something that is not done well, I feel that A Murder in Time was successful at showing how Kendra adapted to suddenly being in a time that was not hers. I liked the whole present day person in the past thing, although I do feel like the parts of the novel that were set in the present day were weaker. They seemed to drag on and I was glad that the vast majority of the novel took place in the 1815 setting. Overall, I was really pleased with A Murder in Time. It wasn’t one hundred percent a novel that engaged me (I didn’t lose any sleep to finish it, for example), but I certainly enjoyed it. While it is set up as the first novel in a series, I believe that the way the novel ends allows it to function as a stand-alone novel. However, because the series is set up as a historical fiction mystery, I’ll likely read the next novel.

3 stars.


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