#Review - A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell Mystery #1
Penguin Group NAL
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Date Read:  September 12, 2015

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. 

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Yay!  I finally read a book by Deanna Raybourn.  I can't believe that I waited this long.  I actually have had the Lady Julia Grey series sitting on my kindle unread since 2011....I know there must be something wrong with me.  So I actually sat down and read this book pretty soon after I got my hands on it and you know what....I really enjoyed it.  

I love it when a book becomes something different than what I expected.  I will admit that I saw the beautiful dress on the cover and immediately thought....romance.  I don't know why I thought it was going to be a romantic story.  I mean there is no man missing his shirt on the cover or anything.  I really do like the cover and don't think it misleads the reader at all.  I was just eager to jump to crazy conclusions when I picked up this book.

One of the great strengths of this story are the characters.  It is almost immediately obvious that Veronica Speedwell is very different than most female characters in this period of time.  The way she looks at things are actually very modern in attitude.  She speaks her mind even when it not the proper thing for a lady to do.  She really says and does what she wants and is unapologetic about it.  If I had lived during that time period, Veronica would have been my idol.  

Stoker is really as interesting as Veronica. This eye patch wearing taxidermist is more than what he seems.  The more that I learned about him, the more I grew to like him.  He actually respects Veronica and listens to what she has to say.  It was nice to read about a man that does not look down upon a woman during this period of time.  I think that Stoker and Veronica made a great pair as they worked to solve the mystery.  There were a few moments when I thought it was going to take a turn into romance and have to admit that I may have hoped for it at least once.  I do believe that the way these characters interact with each other was handled perfectly by the author.

The mystery in the story actually kept me guessing.  I love it when I can't figure out the mystery.  There were more than a few twists that kept the story moving that I found to be completely interesting.  I was even satisfied by the ending and appreciate the fact that everything was wrapped up nicely.  

I would recommend this book to others.  I think that Deanna Raybourn has created a smartly written novel with amazing characters.  I am really quite excited that this is the beginning of a new series and look forward to future installments.  I also need to take some time to catch up on some of her earlier works...including those Lady Julia Grey series currently demanding attention on my kindle.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin First to Read for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author
Photo: © Sigmon Taylor Photography

Deanna Raybourn, the author of the award-winning New York Times bestselling Lady Julia Grey series and several standalone novels, is pleased to introduce her new Victorian-set mystery series featuring Veronica Speedwell.  Deanna lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter


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