This is book two in the Kendra Donovan series, where the heroine has travelled back to Regency London through some sort of wormhole (that part really isn’t explained). I reviewed the first book earlier this year, and found it to be decent enough to give this one a go. You definitely need to be willing to suspend belief when reading these books, however, because they really are wallpaper historicals. Kendra is an FBI agent from the 21st century who found herself dropped back in time to 1815. She was able to help solve a crime in book one, and this one finds her in the similar situation. Murder is afoot in society when Lady Dover is found in her own home, stabbed and disfigured with slashes to her face. The prime suspect is Lord Alec, Marquis of Sutcliffe since he was one of her lovers until recently – he’s the nephew of the Duke of Aldridge (now Kendra’s benefactor) and also a close friend with benefits to Kendra. Naturally he couldn’t have done such a heinous crime and Kendra must jump into action to find the real culprit.
Much like the previous book, Kendra charges into the investigation like a bull in a china shop. For someone supposedly trained as a crack FBI agent, she seems to have no idea how to blend into the scene, or question people without insulting them. She has been in this time period long enough that she should be able to assimilate better, but she continues to be difficult and needing to do things her way or no way. And yes, women were treated much differently back then and it would be hard to accept for a modern woman but there’s a point where she becomes foolish rather than asserting her independence. This foolish thinking leads to another death and she puts herself in danger more than once. Also, in reality, someone charging around like she does would lead to being locked up in Bedlam for insanity!
And still it was mindless entertainment – the murder mystery was intriguing and there were plenty of suspects to keep the reader guessing. While the book blurb would you have believe that Alec is nearly dangling at the end of the noose, that’s really never a big threat. The romance between Kendra and Alec isn’t the focal point, there is some steam between them but it’s off screen, so to speak. Kendra does have some moments of realization towards the end that maybe she isn’t the freak she’s always imagined herself to be so maybe there’s hope for her yet.
Ms McElwain thanks someone in her acknowledgement for research into the Regency time period – whoever this person is needs to be a little more thorough in my humble opinion. There’s still too many oddities in the pattern of speech, and other little details that are out of place. One thing that jumped out at me towards the end of the book was the author writing that the group of them “clamored” into the carriage – this term was used about three times in the same chapter for the same activity. I know what that word means, but just in case I was losing my mind, I checked the definition of clamor and it’s loud noise, or a group of people all talking at once. Nowhere did I find that it meant to climb up into a carriage or coach – mayhap she meant “clamber”? It was just odd and seemed like a glaring error that an editor should have caught.
There is book three already published, with another due this July but I’m in no rush to read them. C.S. Harris does a much better job of writing murder mystery in this era, so if you’re interested, check those out instead of this series.