Book Review: A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong

Book review for A Rip Through Time, a series debut that is a fun, time-travelling mystery about a modern-day detective who travels 150 years back in time to Victorian Scotland, where she not only inhabits the body of a housemaid but a killer is also on the loose.

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342 pages / published May 31, 2022 / Goodreads: 4.04 (out of 5) / Amazon

A Rip Through Time Kelley Armstrong

In this series debut from New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong, a modern-day homicide detective finds herself in Victorian Scotland—in an unfamiliar body—with a killer on the loose.

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.

Outlander meets The Alienist in Kelley Armstrong’s A Rip Through Time, the first book in this utterly compelling series, mixing romance, mystery, and fantasy with thrilling results.

Book Review of A Rip Through Time:

A Rip Through Time was such a fun read, especially since I am a huge fan of time travel books. This is the story of Mallory, a modern-day detective who is in Edinburgh, Scotland, to see her sick nan. When she takes a break from her nan’s deathbed to go for a jog, she hears crying coming from an alley. She goes to investigate and is swept back to Victorian Scotland in a body that is not hers and a time that is most definitely not her own. The only problem? Mallory is now in the body of Catriona, a housemaid, and needs to conform to her identity without being caught.

Oh, and there’s a killer on the loose.

I loved everything about this book. Mallory is such a great character, and it was nice to see her fall in time to a world that is not hers and not be completely competent in it. She’s a detective, not a housemaid. Of course, while she’s trying to make a go as a housemaid and find her way back to her own time, she realized the body she inhabits is that of a not-so-well-liked character. Catriona is a thief and a liar, and everyone in the household has suspicions about her. Mallory does try to fit in, but she is drawn to her boss, Dr. Gray, who is a medical examiner and is working on a case resembling that of a very famous murderer.

Still, hard work never killed anyone, right? By midday, I decide that whoever coined that phrase never toiled as a nineteenth-century housemaid.

Kelley Armstrong, A Rip Through Time

This book had a lot of fun things going on, with Mallory/Catriona trying to use her modern-day skills in an olden-day environment, where women weren’t typically sought out for in regards to detective and sleuthing skills. She has a great cast of characters to work with; Dr. Gray, who is a bit of an outcast because of his race, his sister Isla who is a widow and a secret chemist, as well as Alice, her fellow housemaid, and Mrs. Wallace, the house matron who decidedly hates her guts.

Do all of the mechanics and theories of time travel get explained and thoroughly explored? No, but that’s okay. Kelley is an amazing writer who can tell a story perfectly. She admits in the beginning that she is a 21st-century Canadian writing about historical Scotland and is not a historical fiction author, but she still wanted to explore the avenue of time travel writing. This gives us a time travel book through the lens of a modern Canadian (Mallory), and I feel like that makes the book unique. It’s not a science fiction novel, after all, but a mystery thriller, and that’s what we get.

Would I Recommend A Rip Through Time?

If you love historical fiction told through the eyes of a modern Canadian, with lots of twists and turns and mystery, this is the book for you. If you enjoy other Kelley Armstrong books or enjoy the mystery thriller genre in general, I would highly recommend you check this book out.

What do other readers think?

Are you looking to read more by Kelley Armstrong? Here are some suggestions!

Kelley Armstrong Exit Strategy
Kelley Armstrong City of the Lost
K. L. Armstrong Every Step She Takes

Read more of my book reviews:

Have you read A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong? Do you enjoy time travel books? What are some of your favourites? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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