Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn & GIVEAWAY

I am reposting my review of A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn in celebration of it being released in paperback.    I loved everything about this story and am excited to share my thoughts again.     Plus, look at this gorgeous new cover!

 Published September 1, 2015 by NAL/Penguin

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. 

My Thoughts…

I don’t even know where to start with this review.   I loved everything about A Curious Beginning.   The setting, the characters, the style of writing, the storyline…it was all wonderful.

The setting of London and some surrounding areas are great.   I could picture the warehouse that Stoker lived in, both before Veronica and after Veronica.   When they traveled I could picture what they were seeing and how they were going in circles to be sure they were not being followed.    My favorite was when they joined Stoker’s rather interesting friends in the traveling show.   I have heard of such things long ago and think they would be interesting to experience.  

While the collecting of animals is not my thing (dead or alive), I loved that right away Veronica and Stoker had that in common from the beginning of their relationship.    It was interesting watching them try to figure each other out.   They had to learn how to communicate, fight (which they did well), travel, and lose some modesty with each other while still being true to themselves and keeping themselves safe.     In a time when men and women did not stay together without being married, I was kept me guessing how they would portray themselves at each step of their journey.

The mystery of who Veronica really is was not something I could solve.   I had ideas; I knew that it had to be big if everyone she met was trying to kill her.    I kept trying to figure out how everyone fit together and who was working together or against each other.    When it was revealed who Veronica truly was, I was shocked.   It was truly not what I expected but I was thrilled with the twist.    She came to terms with it all pretty easily knowing that if she didn’t she would not stay alive.   

Needless to say, I cannot wait for more of Veronica’s travel mysteries.  I hope that Stoker continues to keep her in line (haha) and be a big part of her story.   

Book Links

About the author

Deanna Raybourn is the author of the award-winning, New York Times bestselling Lady Julia Grey mysteries and several standalone novels. She lives in Virginia with her family.

Advance Praise for A CURIOUS BEGINNING:
“The intrepid Veronica’s witty narration and the sexual tension she shares with the equally eccentric and articulate Stoker deliver a fun read with promises of more to come.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Mastermind of the charming Lady Grey Mysteries series, Raybourn introduces her latest feisty heroine, deftly twining together suspense, romance, and cracking good dialogue….As Veronica and Stoker careen through dastardly plot twists, they match wits, bantering with skill worthy of Tracey and Hepburn. A thrilling—and hilarious—beginning to a promising new series.”

“With wicked intelligence, Deanna Raybourn has created a fresh and fascinating sleuth. Veronica Speedwell is sure to join the greats of mystery fiction. Impeccably plotted and meticulously researched, A CURIOUS BEGINNING will leave you, as it left me,
whimpering for more.”
—Alan Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce series
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