A Curious Beginning
by Deanna Raybourn
Page Count: 337
Release Date: September 1, 2015
How got: personal buy; from B&N
First attention getter: pretty cover
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.
Star Rating - 5
A fantastic start to a new mystery series, this book sets a great tone, characters, and intelligence that I feel I’m going to enjoy for far in the future. The author takes her time in setting up her lead personalities and their backgrounds, all the while giving us a great mystery that’s still tied into our leads’ history. I’m panting at the gate for more in this series!
I adored our lead, Veronica. It’s been awhile since I’ve come across a woman so down to earth, practical, intelligent, adventurous, and earthy. She’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind and has no patience with the niceties of polite society. God, but her frankness… At times both refreshing and downright hilarious, I found that trait her best one. Most leads of that era are far more circumspect and polite, but if Veronica thinks you have a funky wart on your nose, she’ll tell ya!
The way she and Stocker played off each other was also pure gold. There was an instant chemistry between the two, both physical and emotional. Sparks fly between them as they argue and banter with each other, all the while trying to fight a growing emotional attachment that doesn’t fit in either of their future plans. I loved how she was the practical and methodical one in the relationship and he the emotional and impulsive when it came to approaching circumstances. In your usual mystery, those roles are usually the other way round so to see that reverse was a nice change.
I’m happy the author took so much time in establishing our leads and their respective backgrounds/personalities. She’s laid a great groundwork for future works to spring off of. The first mystery for our intrepid duo is also tied into their backgrounds so not only does it establish where Veronica and Stoker come from but how they’ll approach future mysteries. The author has balanced every aspect to a tee.
I can safely say that I’m now a fan of this series. Characters, how they play off each other, and the story itself all shine. There’s a nice blend of UST, crime-solving, and hilarity to satisfy fans of every mystery story aspect. Bring on book two!!