An FBI agent struggles to adjust when she accidentally time travels back to the Regency period in England.
Kendra Donovan fell back in time during an operation at Aldridge Castle, and when she wound up 200 years before she started out, she became the ward of the Duke of Aldridge, who knows her secret and is fascinated by her knowledge of the unimaginable future. Kendra proved her worth by saving the hide of the duke’s nephew, Alec, Lord Sutcliffe, who was accused of murdering his former mistress (A Twist in Time, 2017). When her repeated attempts to return home fail, she and the duke travel to one of his smaller estates in Lancashire, where he hopes she’ll become more adept in adjusting to the mores of 1815. Caught in a fog, they pass a group of Luddites just before bedding down at an inn. The magistrate and constable to whom the duke reports the group’s presence plan to inspect the nearby cotton mill when they get news that the equipment has been damaged and the mill manager, Mr. Stone, murdered. Constable Jameson is ready to blame the Luddites until Kendra points out new evidence. The duke sends for Alec, who’s become Kendra’s lover, while Kendra interviews Mr. Biddle, the mill’s assistant manager, and its owner, Lord Nathan Bancroft, the Earl of Langfrey, a man with a mysterious past. Stone, a poor manager with a bad reputation, was much disliked. When Stone’s wife is tortured and murdered, Kendra wonders what the killer is so desperate to recover. Frustrated by her powerlessness as a woman, she must rely on the duke for entree despite her superior investigative skills. Even so, she solves the crimes while ruffling feathers along the way.
McElwain’s cross between a Regency romance and a time-travel fantasy combines a mediocre mystery with an exposé of many of the inequities of the era.