Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Happy book birthday to Deanna Raybourn who kicks off her brand new Veronica Speedwell series today with A Curious Beginning.

The death of her Aunt Nell means the loss of Veronica Speedwell's last ties. An orphan adopted by two spinster sisters, both now deceased, Veronica plans to make her own way in the world - traveling and exploring as she pleases. 

But Veronica's plans go awry when her cottage is ransacked and a strange man arrives telling her she's in grave danger. And while it's not that she believes him, she does believe his concern is real. As it turns out, the stranger knew Veronica's mother and his promise to reveal more about her unknown heritage is too much for her to resist. But when the man is murdered Veronica finds herself teaming up with the prime suspect to find out the truth. Considering she's the only one who can attest to the man's innocence, it seems only logical. 

I love Deanna Raybourn's work. Love it! And while I do adore Lady Julia Grey, I couldn't resist the promise of another bold and brash new investigating heroine in Veronica.

Veronica is bold and brash indeed. Raised without a "proper" education and eschewing pretty much all things ladylike, she has no trouble speaking her mind and isn't about to allow herself to be saddled to a husband and kids. Which is exactly what the village vicar and his wife suggest immediately after Nell's funeral! Nope, she's off on a grand adventure and her main hobby is collecting butterfly specimens. It's not a bad way to make a living either, especially when paired with Veronica's shrewd mind for business.

As mentioned above, Veronica knows nothing of her parentage. In fact, she believes she was adopted from an orphanage and that's about all she's derived about her past. So the promise of information even from a perfect stranger is quite tempting. And Veronica prides herself on her own instinct about a person's motives, which plainly means this stranger - the Baron Maximilian von Stauffenbach - is a man to be trusted.

But the baron leaves her in the protection of yet another stranger, a taxidermist who calls himself Stoker. Stoker is just a little reminiscent of our beloved Nicholas Brisbane - another dark and handsome brooder with a secret past - and soon becomes the one prime suspect when the baron is found murdered. Thus begins Veronica's adventure and oh, what an adventure it is!

If you love historical settings and deliciously paced mysteries, A Curious Beginning is one you won't want to miss. There are a few similarities between this series and the Lady Grey books, Stoker/Brisbane I already mentioned but obviously in Veronica, as in Julia, we have another headstrong woman with tendencies more modern than those of most women of her time. Beyond that, their stories are quite different, but I imagine that if they knew one another they'd be fast friends!

A Curious Beginning is a fabulous start to the series and I can't wait to read more!

Rating: 4.5/5

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