Series: Veronica Speedwell #1
Published by Penguin / NAL on September 1st 2015
Genres: Historical, Fiction, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
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.
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.
Set in 1887, Deanna Raybourn’s A Curious Beginning is a thrilling, historical mystery. Following the death of her last living relative, Veronica speedwell finds herself at the center of a complicated mystery surrounding her past. Before Veronica can set off on a new adventure, she’s nearly abducted outside her home. Lucky for her, a dashing older gentleman comes to her rescue claiming to have information about her birth mother. Before Veronica can learn the truth about her family, her rescuer is murdered, and Veronica is stranded in London with a bad tempered man.
I really enjoyed this novel. Veronica and her caretaker, Stoker, are really well-developed characters. Raybourn did a wonderful job getting their character traits established so that this novel could begin unraveling the mystery at hand. This kept the book from the lagging too much as most novels do when there are the first of a series. Not only that, but Veronica and Stoker are very interesting characters. They each have their own little quirks that may reading about them fun, and I loved all of their interaction together.
Another aspect of the story that I liked was the mystery. The story on raveled slowly as various secondary characters were made out to be potential perpetrators of the murder. Not only that, but because at the time this book was written it wasn’t necessarily known that this was going to be a series, so both Veronica and Stoker came off as the suspects. This kept me guessing throughout the book, and allow me to participate in solving the mystery.
If I had anything negative to say, it would be that towards the end of the book started to drag out more than I feel was necessary. So much was going on, that I had to re-read several passages for I was getting lost. However, if you love historical fiction and love a great mystery, A Curious Beginning is a must read.