A Rip Through Time, by Kelley Armstrong

From Goodreads: May 20, 2019: Homicide detective Mallory is in Edinburgh to be with her dying grandmother. While out on a jog one evening, Mallory hears a woman in distress. She’s drawn to an alley, where she is attacked and loses consciousness.

May 20, 1869: Housemaid Catriona Mitchell had been enjoying a half-day off, only to be discovered that night in a lane, where she’d been strangled and left for dead…exactly one-hundred-and-fifty years before Mallory was strangled in the same spot.

When Mallory wakes up in Catriona’s body in 1869, she must put aside her shock and adjust quickly to the reality: life as a housemaid to an undertaker in Victorian Scotland. She soon discovers that her boss, Dr. Gray, also moonlights as a medical examiner and has just taken on an intriguing case, the strangulation of a young man, similar to the attack on herself. Her only hope is that catching the murderer can lead her back to her modern life…before it’s too late.

This review will be slightly tainted by my experience of reading it. This is a book that, at least for me, needs to be read in a slow, deliberate way. It’s a genre-bending mix of mystery, historical fiction, and time travel, with the primary genres focused on the first two. Historical fiction is rarely my favorite, and I need to read it slow to fully appreciate it. Unfortunately, I had a very strict deadline. I couldn’t renew my library hold with others waiting for the book, and had less than a week to read it unless I wanted to get back in line (which I didn’t). So rather than take a week or more to read, I took three days. This made me feel slightly sick while reading – too much input in too little a time frame. Therefore, it’s possible that I view the book less favorably than I should.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it, because I really did. It was thoroughly enjoyable, well-crafted, and intriguing. But I would have enjoyed it more if 1) I’d read it slower, and 2) if the speculative portions had played more of a roll, rather than the emphasis on the historical parts. It’s not as if the speculative parts are unimportant. Mallory has to live in 1869 Scotland with the mindset, knowledge, and cultural context of the 21st century. However, the time travel seems more to provide contrast to the historical parts, rather than being a focus itself. Any cross-genre novel is going to lean more heavily on one or two genres than the rest, and this one just leaned toward the side I least enjoy.

This is the first book in a series, though the mystery part reads as a standalone. The description for Book 2 is a brand new mystery, and I have no idea if the time travel part will get any more attention or resolution, or if Mallory is just stuck in historical Scotland for awhile. Hopefully, it’s not just a historical fiction mystery with a slightly speculative twist. Either way, I’m tentatively looking forward to it (and to reading it slower this time!).


About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2023, Adult, Prose and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.