by Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell Mystery #1
Published by: Penguin
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
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.
A Curious Beginning is the first novel in the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series by Deanna Raybourn. The tale takes place in Victorian England and introduces us to the feisty character Veronica Speedwell. Action, mystery, strong characters and excellent writing made A Curious Beginning a wonderful adventure.
Five reasons to add A Curious Beginning to your bookshelf
- The characters in A Curious Beginning are fully developed and Raybourn offers a unique heroine who finds herself in quite the predicament. Veronica is independent, passionate, feisty and fearless. Her skills at deduction and inquisitive nature were refreshing. I enjoyed the way she interacted with other characters. Raybourn brought her to life in vivid three-D from the clothes she tailored herself to her outspoken nature. Veronica Speedwell is a remarkable character from the clever way in which she dresses herself to the way she stands up against those around her. I imagined her as Clara Oswald, companion to the Doctor, in the hit show Doctor Who. The German baron begins the mystery and introduces us to Stoker, a fallen, troubled man who risks peril to aid Veronica. Villains, constables and nemesis add interest to the tale keeping the reader on edge.
- The tale takes place in London 1887, but we are also transported to the countryside where we stay with a traveling caravan. Raybourn brings the world to life from her vivid descriptions to colorful characters.
- We have two mysteries that intertwine as we gather information along with Veronica and Stoker. The first is why Veronica is in danger and the second is who murdered the German. The plot unfolded at a wonderful pace, allowing us to become intimate with the characters. While at times, I wanted them researching instead of taking little excursions to get their bearings I must admit it helped to endear me to the characters.
- While the story belongs to Veronica, Stoker is very much a key player. He is quite intimidating in the beginning and at first; I could not imagine him as a love interest even as Veronica described his toned physique. However as we learned about him, and witnessed him in action I must admit I fell for him.
- The friendship that develops between Stoker and Veronica was delightful, from the way she utterly annoys him to later in the relationship when she gets him to open up. The possibility for a romance to develop is there and it made this relationship an interesting one. It is my hope that we see them investigate on adventures together and the ending left it as a possibility.
A Curious Beginning was a wonderful start to this series and is one I recommend to fans of historical fiction, mystery and sassy strong willed-characters who are up for an adventure.
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