Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

A Curious Beginning

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Curious Beginning (2015) Deanna Raybourn

Set in London in 1887

This had been on my wishlist for awhile, because although I found her other series vaguely annoying (both not so annoying that I didn’t read multiple books) this seemed right up my alley.

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.

But since I didn’t love her other series, I wasn’t going to pay full price, so when it dropped to $2.99, I snagged it.

I do like Veronica Speedwell.

Expeditions are enormously expensive because they have to cart around everyone’s self-importance. Most of the leaders of these undertakings are dilettantes, gentlemen scientists who insist upon touring in luxury, packing so much silver and linen they might imagine themselves in a London hotel. You are a resourceful man. Are you not familiar with the intrepid lady travelers? Women like Isabella Bird and Marianne North? They managed to go right round the world with little more than what they could fit into a saddlebag. I am persuaded you could travel quite easily with a single bag.

And yes, those are actually female explorers of the time, so: AWESOME!

I should never understand men, I reflected, even if I devoted myself to the study of them as I had lepidoptery. To begin with, I should need a considerably larger net, I decided with a private smile.

Plus, she is in many ways a woman after my own heart.

I think better when I am in motion and things about me are orderly.

One may be elegant or enthusiastic, but seldom both.

I, of course, always aim for elegant.


This was a fun book, and thoroughly enjoyable. There is tension between the two main characters, but no boinking. Yet.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Berkley

Categories: 8/10, British, Female, Historical, Mystery, Romance     Comments (0)    

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