Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Shadows in Time by Julie McElwain
Narrator: Lucy Raynor
Series: Kendra Donovan #5
Published by Tantor Audio on August 4, 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Mystery
Length: 15 hours, 2 minutes
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When Kendra Donovan is approached by Mrs. Gavenston with an unusual request—to find her business manager, Jeremy Pascoe, who recently vanished—the FBI agent is eager to accept the challenge. To Kendra’s way of thinking, spending her time locating a missing person suits her more than perfecting her embroidery, painting watercolors, practicing on the pianoforte, or any of the other activities that are socially acceptable for young ladies in the early nineteenth century.
Unfortunately, the missing person’s case turns into a murder investigation after Kendra finds the man stabbed to death in a remote cottage that he’d been using as a writer’s retreat. Everyone who knew him says that Pascoe was a fine fellow. So who hated him enough to kill him?
Seeking the answer to that question plunges Kendra into the world of big business, as Mrs. Gavenston happens to run one of the largest breweries in England. And if there is one thing Kendra knows hasn’t changed, it’s that big business means big money . . . and money is always a motive for murder.
While Kendra works to sift through the truth and lies swirling around Mr. Pascoe’s life—and death—her world is rocked closer to home when a woman arrives claiming to be the Duke of Aldridge’s presumably dead daughter, Charlotte. It is a distraction Kendra cannot afford, not when there is a killer lurking in the shadows who will do anything to keep the truth from being exposed.
A tough, brilliant FBI agent pulled back in time to Regency England faces the clever, gritty murder mysteries presented without a forensics team in sight, but it is the intricacies of her own life and heart that are the true mysteries she must figure out. These historical mysteries with a time-traveler heroine captured my attention from the beginning and I am thrilled when each installment releases.
Shadows in Time is the fifth in the series that work best read in order because of the strong series plot threads and growing relationships.
Kendra finds being a society lady rather tedious and dull even while she feels that she owes it to the duke and Alec not to be a big odd ball to their grand aristocratic circles and, for her own part, she’s tired of being the weirdo outsider. But, it is hard going conforming so she leaps at the chance when a lady brewery owner sets her a problem of locating a man. That case keeps her busy, but it is the appearance of the duke’s long thought deceased daughter that really stirs up Kendra. Is she or isn’t she? Carlotta sure plays a good game if she is a fake because she knows and does things only the true woman could know.
I’ve had, at times, a love-hate thing going with Kendra. She has made a tough situation ten times as difficult on herself because she has been so messed up emotionally from her past. Treated like a lab experiment by her parents and a protégé in the FBI, as their youngest agent ever for her brilliance, she has no clue how to act when true-hearted people want to embrace her. She also has this chip on her shoulder to prove her worth as an investigator so she rushes stupidly into danger without back up many times. Slowly, through the series, she has learned and gotten better at all that. This was the first book where I felt comfortable settling in and wholeheartedly cheering for her and marveling at how far she has come.
But, the character-driven side of the plot was still no walk in the park because she must face the vulnerability of having the duke’s daughter back in his life and feeling all at sea as to where this places her with him. Then there is her struggle to wholeheartedly embrace a committed relationship with Alec. He loves her and wants her just the way she is, but she must be the one to let down her guard and trust him.
Meanwhile, she has more crime-solving action with Sam, her Bow Street Runner colleague, Bear the crime lord helps, and Alec assisting. I loved the suspense, the action, and the twists and turns to the end and that final confrontation had me worried how it would all turn out. I love most of all how the author blends modern forensics including autopsy and crime-solving work with the available methodology at the time because of Kendra’s time traveling and FBI training paired with people in the period who are no slouches in spite of their low-tech knowledge.
All in all, I love this time travel historical mystery series and this last was my best encounter yet. I hope there are many more mysteries for Kendra and her friends. Definitely recommend.
Lucy Rayner continues to narrate the series. I took a bit getting used to her voicing of Kendra sounding somewhat child-like, but by this fifth book, I find it familiar and relaxing to slip into the story with her telling it. She gives a depth to the emotion and tone that enhance the listening experience.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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