*Originally published 2015/10/13
A CURIOUS BEGINNING (Veronica Speedwell: #1) Written by Deanna Raybourn
2015; 337 Pages (Penguin Books)
Genre: mystery, historical fiction, romance
(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)
When I first picked up Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn I fell in love with the gothic historical mystery series, featuring Lady Julia. I tried Raybourn’s standalone novel, The Dead Travel Fast, and had mixed feelings about the plot and characters (review will be featured on TBT). I tried her “Roaring Twenties” series and found some were better than others. I was sad to hear that there would be no more books in the Lady Julia series, and wasn’t sure how to feel about her newest historical mystery series, featuring Veronica Speedwell. She sounded like a strong-willed woman like Julia but would it be as good? I started the novel last month and LOVED it. I think I might even like it more than her Lady Julia series as more novels come out.
Veronica is a fun character! She is a bit like Julia’s sister Portia in that she believes that sex outside of marriage is a must for a future spinster like her. She speaks her mind and what comes out of her mouth is priceless. Veronica is a scientist that is interested in studying butterflies and has gone on expeditions and written papers (under V. Speedwell). However, she is constantly trying to prove herself to her peers. Like most of Raybourn’s novels the action pretty much starts at the beginning. As Veronica buries her remaining aunt she starts to get ready to leave town and start on a new adventure but instead adventure finds her. As she is about to be kidnapped a German baron comes to her rescue and tells her she is in grave danger. He takes her to his most trusted friend, Stoker, to hide while he discovers the truth…but is instead murdered and the police are looking for Stoker for the murder. Now Veronica and Stoker are on the run to clear their name and find the murderer of the baron.
There is so much going on this novel that it has the feeling of a fantasy novel – epic journey to the truth. This historical novel feels like it was written in the time it was set and it was easy to see the era. The banter between Veronica and Stoker is also great – very Clark Gable and Joan Crawford. I recommend this novel (and series) to every Raybourn fan and those who love a good mystery!