Book Review: A Murder in Time – Julie McElwain

a murder in timeTitle: A Murder in Time
Author: Julie McElwain
Pages: 499
Release Date: April 11, 2016
Publisher: Pegasus
Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime Fiction
Source: Publisher


Kendra Donovan might be young, but she’s making a name for herself at the FBI. That is, until something goes horribly wrong on a raid, and Kendra wakes up in the hospital. Set on revenge, Kendra strikes out on her own, determined to bring her own brand of vigilante justice to the person responsible for killing her team members. But just as she’s catching up with her man, something unexplainable happens: Kendra is thrown back in time, to the year 1815. Trapped in a world she doesn’t know or understand, Kendra must figure out how to get home…if a murderer in the past doesn’t find her first.


A Murder in Time is a hard book to summarize, as you might be able to tell from the plot synopsis above; there’s so much going on in this book that it’s hard to do it justice in a few sentences. The bottom line is that the second I heard about this book, I knew it was for me. Lady main character? FBI? Murder? Time travel? This was 100% up my alley, even if I never expected a book combining all these themes. I was a little worried at how McElwain would handle it—if it would be too silly to really be enjoyable—but I shouldn’t have worried. I was hooked on this novel from beginning to end.

The novel starts off a little slow, as the reader gets to know Kendra and her place within the FBI; this is necessary background, but it doesn’t feel as though the story really starts taking off until Kendra sets out on her own. At this point, things start moving at a breakneck pace, and it doesn’t let off much over the course of the book. Kendra’s grappling with being out of her own time, unsure of how or if she’ll get home, trying to fit in, railing against how women are treated in this world, grappling with the class divides…and oh yeah, solving a murder that happens while she’s in the past. There’s a lot going on, and the author juggles it all very well.

You don’t expect a fun murder mystery to be especially thought provoking, and yet A Murder in Time is. By setting the bulk of the novel in the past, McElwain is able to discuss issues of class and feminism, providing a social commentary through Kendra on how much has changed, but more importantly, what hasn’t. The social undertones never get in the way of plot, as the author makes sure they’re such an integral part of Kendra’s character. This novel really does have it all.

The second I finished A Murder in Time, I was immediately on social media asking if there would be a sequel because I fell in love with this world that McElwain created. Kendra is such a great character—capable, smart, funny—but she isn’t perfect. I loved getting to know her, and I hope that we do see that sequel (in development, but no guarantees) soon!

Affiliate Links:

Buy this book from Powell’s Books
Buy this book from
Buy this book from your local Indiebound bookstore


  1. John Fish says:

    I loved reading this. Very entertaining and the interesting characters stayed with me after I finished like friends that I hope to see again. An interesting and super fun reading experience.

  2. Just finished this one! It was really fun and as you said, thought-provoking at the same time. I was a little worried at first because the present day part dragged a bit, but I loved it once the time travel happened. I wondered about a sequel too and am glad to hear there’s a possibility. I’d love to read more now that the set up is done.

  3. Just finished the book and went looking for a sequel. Hope it surfaces soon.
    The book was a delight. Needed a dictionary several times each chapter to work through the 19th century British terms, but found some pleasure in figuring out a number of them but thinking.
    Worth reading to see where we were just 200 years ago, and how much we’ve done and what did NOT happen.

  4. Tammy Odell says:

    Just finished! Your review describes book perfectly 🙂 I wasn’t sure during the first couple chapters if I was going to finish the book, but I am so glad I did! I hope she writes more!

  5. Good book, good story line, characters, etc. The language though was so unnecessary, it didn’t help the plot or enhance the story. This kind of language demonstrates a lack of intelligence. Loose the filth and gain a larger reading audience. I am an avid reader and have read hundreds of great stories such as this one without all the vulgarity, otherwise a very good book.

  6. JOHN BAILEY says:

    Perfect book EXCEPT for one flaw that I found. When she first sits at the Peer’s dinner table Alec says that she used all the forks and knives properly, and so she must be……. BUT in my experience today’s Americans would only use a fork and would not used the knife properly. Take out these two sentences and the book is aa perfect as any I have read in the last 65 years.

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->