Sunday, June 9, 2024

A Rip Through Time: Kelley Armstrong

 


This is the first book in a time travel trilogy by Kelley Armstrong. The main character in this book is a female police detective, Mallory Atkinson, from Vancouver, British Columbia, who is visiting Edinburgh in 2019 because her grandmother is very ill.  While out jogging in the evening, she tries to help a young woman in the streets who is being attacked; at that point she is transported to another time, which she later finds out is Edinburgh in 1869. For the rest of the story, Mallory's focus is on trying to figure out what happened and how she can return to her own time. 

Soon she learns that her consciousness is in the body of a very attractive young house maid who works in a house owned by a young doctor, Dr. Gray, and his sister, Isla. This is what she sees when she looks in the mirror:

"The girl—young woman, I should say—is no more than twenty. Honey-blond hair that curls to midback. Bright blue eyes. Average height with curves not quite contained by the corset over my chest. Not me."

There are a lot of convenient coincidences. A policewoman from 2019 transported back to Edinburgh 150 years earlier is very lucky to end up in a situation that she did. The owner of the house she is working in is an undertaker who has gone to medical school, and his major interest is investigating deaths (cause of death, etc.). He has a friend in the police who can give him access to bodies for research in some cases. His sister runs the house; she is a chemist who cannot work in her chosen field because she is a woman. All of this gives her opportunities and access that she would not have had in other households. However, I easily accepted these coincidences because the story was so interesting and fun.


My thoughts:

  • Mallory tells the story in first person present tense narration. I usually like stories narrated by the main character and it works well here. I usually don't like the use of present tense in fiction, but I am getting used to it.
  • The characters are very well done, and the women in the book are strong characters, not afraid to assert themselves. Mallory has to be careful with her behavior because she knows that no one will believe that she is actually from 150 years in the future. She must act subservient like a maid would, and do all the work a maid does, after she recovers from the attack.
  • I like time travel books a lot, and this one was a good read and educational. I learned a lot about Edinburgh and Scotland in 1869. 
  • As far as I could tell, the author did a good job with the setting and atmosphere in Edinburgh in 1869. On her website, Armstrong has notes for the sources she used in research for this novel.


Armstrong is a Canadian author, and I am always looking for Canadian authors to read. Since this story is set in Edinburgh, we don't get a Canadian setting, but I have read two books from another one of her series, the Rockton series, set in the Yukon territory in Canada.

I read this book on my Kindle; it was the third eBook I read this year. I have the 2nd book in this series as an eBook also and I would like to read it by the end of the year. 


 -----------------------------

Publisher:   Minotaur Books, 2022
Length:       352 pages
Format:      eBook
Series:        A Rip Through Time #1
Setting:      Edinburgh, Scotland
Genre:       Time Travel
Source:      Kindle Unlimited.


25 comments:

Cath said...

I have this one on my Kindle, bought it because it was on offer and didn't really read the blurb properly. Thus I don't think I realised it was a time-travel story which is not my favourite sci-fi genre, I must admit. I'm sure I will try it at some stage! LOL

pattinase (abbott) said...

I too enjoy time travel. I will look for it.

Margot Kinberg said...

That's an innovative premise, Tracy. And I think with speculative fiction like this, the reader has to let go of some disbelief and accept that certain things (like the household the main character ends up in) are just...simply going to work. I do my best to avoid any books in the present tense, only reading them under very specific circumstances, so that aspect of the book doesn't appeal to me at all. That said, though, the story sounds well-told, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Lark said...

I've got this one on my summer reading list. I don't love present tense either, but I do love that Scotland/Edinburgh setting. And the time travel part of this one seems like a fun premise. Are you going to read the next two books in this series now?

Kathy's Corner said...

Kelly Armstrong is a really fine writer and it's interesting that the heroine is transported not only to another time but another body. A great way to explore life in Scotland in the 1800's as well.

Kay said...

I am a big fan of Kelley Armstrong's books - the Rockton/Haven's Rock series and also some of her YA books. I have all the books published so far in this time travel series, but I haven't tried them yet. I have had other friends who have really enjoyed them. I'll add you to that list, Tracy. I look forward to visiting these characters and Scotland in 1869. ;-)

Kelly said...

I use to struggle with time travel stories, but have grown to enjoy them very much. I'll have to check out this series a little more closely. It sounds interesting.

TracyK said...

Cath, Since you already have this book, I think this one is worth a try because you are familiar with the writer and she tells a good story here. The time travel is more incidental ... sort of.

TracyK said...

Patti, I hope you find the book and enjoy it.

TracyK said...

Margot, I enjoyed reading this book so much, I didn't have any problem suspending disbelief. I haven't yet figured out why so many authors use present tense now, but it is hard to avoid it entirely. And sometimes it works OK.

Sam said...

I like time travel novels a lot. As I recall, it was The Time Machine that initially drew me to science fiction, and time travel remains my favorite subgenre of scifi even today. I don't have much of a problem suspending my sense of disbelief when it comes to this kind of book for some reason. I suppose knowing up front that that is going to be required makes it happen easier and quicker for me. Do you plan to continue reading the trilogy?

TracyK said...

Lark, I think you will enjoy this book. The setting is great, and I liked the characters too. I do plan to read the whole series. I don't have the third one yet but I hope to read them close together so I don't forget the story.

TracyK said...

Kathy, It is interesting to me how many different types of time travel books there are. Some seem to be rooted more in fantasy, others more in science. The fact that the heroine ends up in someone else's body gives the author a way to explore what life was like for someone who worked as a servant, and also gives her access to different levels of society.

TracyK said...

Kay, I am still only two books into the Rockton series by Armstrong but I am planning on reading the Haven's Rock series also. It took me a few chapters to get into this first book, but after that I enjoyed it and liked the suspense and the setting.

TracyK said...

Kelly, I don't when or why I started liking time travel books, but now I am willing to try just about any of them. I even read the very long ones like Connie Willis's series and The Time Traveler's Wife. This one was a bit different but it worked well for me.

TracyK said...

Sam, I think I lean towards liking science-based time travel better than the stories where it sort of just happens, with no explanation. But in either case the reader always has to suspend disbelief and just go with it. I do plan to read the whole trilogy. I was able to read this one on Kindle Unlimited and then the 2nd one became available at a good price as an ebook.

I am aware that you like time travel novels and I am going to check out all your reviews at your blog that are time travel related.

CLM said...

I am glad you enjoyed this because it's been on my TBR a while. In fact, I might have it on Kindle but I prefer print books and often forget the ebooks waiting for me. I have enjoyed quite a few books by this author with the caveat that her heroines are all clones of each other.

I spent 48 hours in Edinburgh and always enjoy books set there!

Constance

TracyK said...

Constance, I was glad to get the opportunity to read this book in May because I had Kindle Unlimited at the time. I prefer print books also but I want to get more comfortable with reading ebooks so I can take advantage of the many books I have in that format.

I haven't noticed that the heroines of Armstrong's books are all the same but then I have only read a few so far and I let some time pass in between. The Edinburgh setting in this one was really good.

thecuecard said...

I didn't know she was a Canadian author. I like finding Canadian authors and settings in novels but I'm not a big time-traveller, lol. Though I'm listening to Octavia Butler's Kindred right now on audio ... and it's a time travel story as well. Let's see if I like it. I've always wanted to go to Edinburgh. Someday, someway!

TracyK said...

Susan, I started reading more novels by Canadian authors when I first started blogging and joined the Canadian Reading Challenge. I have discovered new authors that way and learned more about Canada. Although Canada is like the US in that it is so big that each area can be entirely different from another.

I can understand a reluctance to read time travel fiction. It is either fantasy or science fiction or both and not everyone likes that type of reading. I will be very interested in hearing how you like Kindred. I don't know why I haven't tried Octavia Butler's books except that I have not read widely in science fiction and I read more science fiction when I was much younger, before her books were published.

CLM said...

That Octavia Butler is a classic that is in many people's all time favorites, including my friend who used to buy fantasy and SF for Barnes & Noble. Maybe next year we should put it on our 20 Books of Summer!

TracyK said...

Constance, putting Kindred by Octavia Butler on our 20 Books of Summer list in 2025 is a very good idea, assuming one of us can remember that next year. (I checked first to see if it is a reasonable length.)

Todd Mason said...

And KINDRED is time-travel horror fiction...and brilliant.

TracyK said...

Todd, it is probably the horror element that has scared me off from reading Kindred for years. Psychological horror does not appeal to me at all. When I read the description recently I decided that I could at least give it the 50 page test and that the length of under 300 pages probably is something I could take.

Clothes In Books said...

Very interesting: unlike many of your readers, I had never heard of this author and book.
But you have tempted me a lot - historical mysteries and time travel are both genres I dabble in, but not my favourites. But somehow it seems the combination you describe could be very entertaining, and your recommendation counts for a lot!