Thursday, September 17, 2015

Book Review: A Curious Beginning

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell Mystery, #1)Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: NAL
Series: Veronica Speedwell Mystery # 1

In her thrilling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, returns once more to Victorian England…and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell.

London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

One cannot innovate new improvements without understanding old failures.

I felt in this new adventure I was rousing to life again. I was a butterfly, newly emerged from the chrysalis, damp winged and trembling with expectation.

You have large opinions for so small a person.

Music and needlework. I am astonishingly lacking in traditional feminine accomplishments.

Veronica is not your ordinary Victorian heroine. She is headstrong, opinionated, and is not shy about the number of lovers she has taken in the past. Veronica has no desire to be tied down to a husband, nor does she have a desire to start producing children and keeping a house. When her last living relative passes away, Veronica decides to branch out on her own and experience some freedom and live on her own terms. Little does Veronica know, she is about to step into a spider web of adventure, action, murder, and deception. After a situation that could have ended in her demise, Veronica is left in the care of a gentleman who refers to himself as Stoker. Together these two must solve the murder of a man they both had a connection to, while also trying to find out who is after Veronica and what they could possibly want with her.

Stoker and Veronica made the perfect pair. Stoker does not really know how to handle a woman like Veronica, since she is so much different from what is normally expected of her gender during this time period. They share a lot of witty, sarcastic, and sometimes nagging banter, and to be completely honest this was one of my favorite things about the book. The mystery sometimes took second place to my feelings about the dynamics building between Stoker and Veronica. The entire book was well-written; Raybourn has such a knack for providing vivid and unbelievable details while still keeping you interested and excited about the rest of the story. She takes Veronica and Stoker to so many interesting places, and continues to make readers picture every single place in their minds. I am very excited for the other books in this series!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at NAL in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a historical that would be perfect for me, plus I love the cover!!

    Kate @ Ex Libris