Title: A Curious Beginning
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: Veronica Speedwell, #1
Date: September 1, 2015
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.
I have to make something clear right from the start about this book. I loved it! I absolutely loved it! Stoker is wonderful and Veronica is one of my all time favorite heroines. If ever there was a woman who knew what she wanted, Veronica is that woman.
As stated in the description, Stoker and Veronica are “in search of the villainous truth.” The plot has twists and turns. Backstories that are alluded to, but not fully explained. Heroes, or are they villains, keep popping up.
And some of the best dialogue I have ever read. Let me give you just a few examples.
Stoker and Veronica are trying to determine why someone is trying to abduct her and Veronica does not accept his hypothesis at all.
“That is a tale straight from one of Mrs. Radcliffe’s thrillers, Stoker. I expected better from you.”
It is a perfectly logical hypothesis, he returned.
Now, do shut up and stop interrupting whilst I’m being interesting.”
I love that last line.
Stoker has recently introduced Veronica to a friend of his – another strong willed woman.
“I was merely thinking it may have been a very grave mistake to introduce you to Lady C. If the pair of you ever put your minds to it, you could probably topple governments together.
One thing at a time, dear Stoker. One thing at a time.”
And finally, and this so represents their relationship:
“Of course, as had become our habit, we quarreled over what the end should be — or at least Stoker quarreled and I carried on doing precisely as I wished.”
I adore Veronica. She reminds me a lot of Amelia Peabody (by Elizabeth Peters) or Alexia Tarabotti (by Gail Carriger). If you enjoy either of these series, you will love this one.
I am a big fan of Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia books, but this book tops those. I cannot wait for the sequel. No word on that yet, but I’m watching for it.
This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.