Lady St. James, one of London Town’s most notorious gossips, takes a moment to pen a quick letter to her eldest daughter, Elizabeth.
October, 2021, 1816
My darling Lizzie,
I am simply bursting to tell you the latest news! The Duke of Aldridge has acquired a ward. Her name is Kendra Donovan. I know what you must be thinking, dearest—that she is Irish given her surname. However, it is much worse—she is an American! I dare say that is why she is the most peculiar creature. I can confide in you that Caro—Aldridge’s sister, who, as you may recall, is one of my dearest friends—is quite beside herself over her brother’s association with this female.
Miss Donovan is quite comely, even if her coloring—raven hair and eyes as black as any gypsy—is not at all fashionable. She is far too thin, with none of the plumpness that we ladies aspire to. Still, there is no denying that Aldridge’s nephew, Lord Sutcliffe, seems to be quite transfixed by her, even though she is practically on the shelf at six and twenty. It is difficult to imagine that someone like the marquis, so devilishly handsome and with his impeccable linage, could have his head turned by this American upstart. I can tell you that most of the matrons in the Ton are dismayed, fearing that their daughters may be losing such a prime catch to the parson’s mousetrap! And it is especially galling to lose to a commoner who lacks all the social graces and appears to care naught for London society. Caro has even lamented to me that Miss Donovan resists—yes, resists! —shopping or going to her modiste. Who doesn’t desire another new gown?
Still, it is not Miss Donovan’s looks, age, lack of pedigree or manners that really have tongues wagging in the Polite World. The woman has an unnatural interest in the criminal world! I know, my dearest, that you cannot fathom such a thing. I confess that it is shocking, but at the same time…well, I cannot help but be intrigued. You must remember me writing to you about the horrendous events that took place a month ago during Caro’s famous house party at Aldridge Castle, when a young girl was found dead in a lake near the picnic that Caro had arranged. Murdered!
The ladies were quite rightly rounded up and led away from the ghastly sight. But Miss Donovan? The chit actually ran towards the scene! Can you imagine? A proper miss ought to have been swooning, but Miss Donovan began issuing orders like she was the Duke of Wellington himself! Even more outrageous, Miss Donovan was a mere servant at the time. Indeed, we were only introduced to her when Lady Rebecca took on Miss Donovan as her companion. And now the Duke is claiming her as his ward! He has put out the Banbury Tale that she is the daughter of friends who emigrated to America years ago. Complete poppycock, of course. But no one would dare call out the Duke on this farce. He is too powerful. One can only assume this is part of his eccentricities. I have heard that he installed a telescope on the battlements of Aldridge Castle. I believe it has been well-documented that the moon can bring out a certain lunacy, and there was a full moon on the first night of the house party. This is something, perhaps, to ponder.
Given Miss Donovan’s odd penchant for solving murders (yes, the on dit is that she uncovered the monster who killed that poor girl in the lake) I suspect that I shall be writing to you again about the American. Until then…
Your loving Mama
The In Time series where Jane Austen meets CSI with a dash of Doctor Who.
About the Book
A MURDER IN TIME introduces Kendra Donovan, a beautiful, brilliant FBI agent, who goes rogue when half her team is killed in a botched mission. Determined to get justice, Kendra travels to Aldridge Castle to find the man responsible. However, her plan goes awry when an assassin forces her to flee through a hidden passageway. Stumbling out again, she realizes she’s in the same place, but in a different time—1816, to be precise. Mistaken as a servant, Kendra tries to navigate the intricacies of the Regency, and find a way back to her own time. Yet when the body of a young girl is found in the lake, Kendra believes her involuntary time travel has a purpose, especially since only she—an FBI profiler—recognizes that they are dealing with a serial killer. Pitting her skills—without the aid of modern technology—against a cunning madman is difficult. But it’s nothing compared to living in the Regency era, a time when women are relegated to second-class citizen, without even the right to vote. Thankfully, the powerful Duke of Aldridge—a man of Science—takes her under his wing. Stuck in the past, Kendra’s criminal expertise comes in handy again in A TWIST IN TIME, CAUGHT IN TIME, BETRAYAL IN TIME, and SHADOWS IN TIME…and Kendra realizes that when it comes to human nature, murder is timeless.
About the Author
Julie McElwain is a national award-winning journalist. Her first novel in her genre-bending time-travel/mystery series, A MURDER IN TIME, was one of the top 10 picks by the National Librarian Association for its April 2016 book list, and was selected as the mystery to read in 2016 by OverDrive Inc., serving more than 34,000 libraries around the world. The novel was also a finalist for the 2016 Goodreads’ readers’ choice awards in the Sci-fi category, and made Bustle’s list of 9 Most Addictive Mystery series for 2017. A MURDER IN TIME, A TWIST IN TIME, CAUGHT IN TIME, BETRAYAL IN TIME, and SHADOWS IN TIME have been optioned for television/movie development. McElwain currently lives in North Dakota, working on the latest installment of the Kendra Donovan series. Connect to Julie McElwain through her author’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Juliemcelwain; twitter: @JulieMcElwain; or website: Juliemcelwainauthor.com