Guest Audio review: A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain, Lucy Rayner

Posted September 28, 2018 by Lily B in Audio, Guest Post, Reviews / 22 Comments

Guest Audio review: A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain,  Lucy RaynerA Twist in Time by Julie McElwain
Narrator: Lucy Rayner
Length: 16 hours 54 minutes
Series: Kendra Donovan, #2
Published by Tantor Audio on April 4, 2017
Genres: Time-Travel
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Former FBI agent Kendra Donovan's attempts to return to the twenty-first century have failed, leaving her stuck at Aldridge Castle in 1815. And her problems have just begun: in London, the Duke of Aldridge's nephew Alec-Kendra's confidante and lover-has come under suspicion for murdering his former mistress, Lady Dover, who was found viciously stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved up in a bizarre and brutal way. Lady Dover had plenty of secrets, and her past wasn't quite what she'd made it out to be. Nor is it entirely in the past-which becomes frighteningly clear when a crime lord emerges from London's seamy underbelly to threaten Alec. Joining forces with Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must navigate the treacherous nineteenth century while she picks through the strands of Lady Dover's life. As the noose tightens around Alec's neck, Kendra will do anything to save him, including following every twist and turn through London's glittering ballrooms, where deception is the norm-and any attempt to uncover the truth will get someone killed.

Following close on the heels of the first book, A Murder in Time’s adventures, A Twist in Time takes modern woman and tough FBI agent, Kendra Donovan to the bright lights and society of Regency London to solve a murder that hits close to home.

This is a wonderfully unique mash up of time travel and historical mystery with a dash of romance. Kendra is a 21st woman with excellent profiling skills and FBI training who inexplicably ends up in 19th century England. She’s fortunate enough to have landed in the Duke of Aldrige’s castle and that he is something of a Renaissance man who can handle her odd quirks from the start. Kendra becomes romantically entangled with his nephew the Marquis of Sutcliffe, friends with a Bow Street Runner and a lady with feminist leanings. She is torn between her sense of not belonging where women are still second class citizens and her skills make her an oddity and knowing that this is the first time she has ever been around people who like and yes, love her.

Kendra has to set all that aside when Alec, Lord Sutcliffe, gets accused of a brutal murder of his former mistress. The clues lead Kendra through the balls and soirees of London Society to the darker alleys of Cheapside. Lady Dover’s life held secrets and one of them was enough to make someone not only kill her, but mutilate her face. Kendra’s detection skills paired with the forensics and policing of that day along with her companions’ knowledge of Regency norm all come together to bring this enchanting whodunnit.

As with the first book, I was most taken with how a modern person gets along more than two hundred years in the past. It was fascinating to see her do police work when modern method and tech aren’t there to help and she is bucking an all-male system all the way.

Kendra has abandonment issues from her parents and issues because of things that happened in her own time so she struggles to accept Alec’s love and wishes that she be with him. I confess that I wanted to shake her after a while. I get it, but it really does all come down to her own fear and need to trust someone and little to do with anything in her own time waiting for her. Alec is being punished because her parents turned their backs on her. At least she is starting to realize this in this one. Iโ€™ll look forward to where this romance thread goes in future books.

Also, her ‘I am woman hear me roar’ bit of ‘I can take care of myself’ was driving me nuts. She goes racing into the London slums alone to prove to herself and others something when itโ€™s just stupid not to take back up. Even in modern times, she would have a partner or back up. She’s also constantly ragging on the times even though some of it is her own preferences and prejudices rather than something was necessarily wrong (which yes, it gets old when she compares things to modern times and overlooks that itโ€™s not some great Utopia in our day and age). I get it, a womanโ€™s lot really sucked back then as did the class system, but she chooses to toss it all out rather than see that some things were actually good if not better). This is part of her modern arrogance that because she knows the future that she knows better- you’d think she would have learned after what happened in the last book. But, at the same time, I find that the struggles Kendra goes through are a wise move on the author’s part to show that adjusting to a time travel situation would never be easy. The author did her homework on the historical setting and social mores of Regency times and brings those out through Kendra’s eyes.

The narration by Lucy Rayner continues to have me on the fence. I love aspects of her work like her accepts and ability to vocalize genders and tone. But, she gets a sing-song pattern and I feel that her Kendra voice (which is the primary one) gets whiny or snippy which might be influencing some of my issues with Kendra. I don’t dislike her work, but I don’t love it, either and had to get used to it all over again when I started this book.

Still, it was another great installment in a series that I think historical murder mystery fans and time travel lovers would enjoy.

My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.


About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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22 responses to “Guest Audio review: A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain, Lucy Rayner

  1. I love the sound of a modern FBI Profiler going back in time and solving mysteries, but I think Kendra and her attitude “I can take care of myself” without help or back up would annoy me. Like you said, that’s not wise in any time period. I definitely think a narrator can magnify those irritating qualities by making a character sound whiny. I’ve had that happen to me and it made me annoyed with my main character more than I would’ve been by reading the actual book. Glad to hear you enjoyed the story overall. Like I said, I love the concept. Wonderful review, Sophia Rose! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I think there is a little of it from annoyance about how women are thought of as such dainty little things and she got restless, but also because she’s a little arrogant that- as a modern woman and trained- that the regency era low life aren’t as dangerous to her. Or, maybe she was just being dumb. LOL

      Yeah, I’m considering trying the next one in print to see if maybe the narrator is coloring my impressions, too.

      Thanks, Rachel!

  2. That bugs me too about books, the whole I can take care of myself! I recently read one too where some lady went out alone and at least this one training. But I sure would not do it alone . A brave person knows when they need help

    But I still want to read book 1 now ๐Ÿ˜€ DO they have a future!!!?

    • Yep, we agree on that! Be brave, but don’t be stupid. LOL

      Oh yes, I think you’d enjoy these. The first one starts in modern times and then the duke’s country estate. This one takes things to London of the past, and the third one, is while they are traveling in Northern England I think. I still need to read book three so I’m just as mystified about them having a future as you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Now this sounds fun! A 21st century detective trying to solve a 19th century murder- in the Regency society no less! Love that idea. Sounds good other than the Kendra issues- I hate it when protagonists go into dangerous places without back up! Glad you mostly enjoyed it though! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes! I am with you on enjoying the big element of a 21st century FBI profiler solving crime in Regency England. That is the best part.

      But yeah, she does go great guns at things and needs to use some street smarts. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I have seen this one around but never quite understood that she would be doing police work back then too — what an intriguing premise this is! You’ve just given me a whole new appreciation for it!

  5. I have a soft spot for time travel romances. Itโ€™s interesting that in this case the woman who travels back is not just an โ€œaverage girlโ€ but an FBI agent. That definitely adds an interesting twist. Narration can be such a tricky thing. A narrator can absolutely make or break to whole reading/listening experience.

    • I enjoy the occasional TTR, too. It was extra fun to have her be an FBI agent.

      Yeah, this is the second one I listened to and I just don’t think the narrator and I are a good fit. Oh well.

    • Exactly. I don’t think I’d be half as annoyed by the character’s issues if I didn’t actually hear a whine to the voice speaking her thoughts. Hope you enjoy it, Melissa. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I LOVE this series. I still need to get/read the third book though. I’m glad you mostly enjoyed this one – and I can see how Kendra would drive you a bit nuts sometimes. LOL I think the setting is fantastic though, and I love seeing how they figure out the mysteries without all the modern advancements.


    • I’ve got the third book and just need to slip it in (been on a thriller binge lately).

      Honestly, I don’t think it would bug me half as bad if I were reading rather than listening. I think it is the tiny, whining voice the narrator gives her that pushed me to get most annoyed.

      The whole premise is very cool and I love it even the occasional irritation with Kendra because she’s just being real and true to her character. ๐Ÿ™‚ Though… take back up, woman! LOL

  7. How is the “science” in this one? Is it like Outlander or does it get too technical? I struggle with time travel books, it’s only when magic is involved that I can do it otherwise I totally blank out. lol

    • I think you’ll be alright because two books in and the ‘how’ is still a mystery. They have no idea how she ended up in the past. I’ve got the third book which speaks of another murder to solve in the past so maybe they never figure it out. LOL

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