Title: A Curious Beginning
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series:Veronica Speedwell Mystery #1
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Before we start I want you to take a good hard look at the cover of A Curious Beginning. Is it not one of the most gorgeous covers you have ever seen? I think it is stunningly beautiful. When looking at it, it just whispers "Read me..."
Do yourself a favor and listen to that whisper. Read this book. You will not be disappointed!
A Curious Beginning is just that, a curious beginning. It is a story of Veronica Speedwell. A woman living in the 1800's. However, do not be fooled. She is not a proper lady. She likes to go off on expeditions and capture butterflies. She is a lover of science. And she is no stranger to the touch of a man...despite being unwed.
The story begins with a funeral for Veronica Speedwell's last living caretaker. Veronica was an orphan that was raised by two sisters. If they knew anything about where she came from, they never told her and Veronica never thought to ask. She probably should have.
Veronica Speedwell has plans to take off on a new expedition all most immediately upon her return to the cottage she shared with her caretakers, but upon returning she finds the cottage in a disheveled state. What is even more worrisome is that the thief is still in the house! While most others would attempt to escape before their presence is noticed, Veronica does the opposite. She gives chase to the intruder! Luckily a strange old man she comes to know as Baron Maximillion von Stauffenbach (such a mouthful I know!) is there to help frighten the intruder away.
The Baron then gets Veronica, after some convincing, to accompany him to London where he leaves her in the care of Stoker - a dirty, overworked, callous man. The Baron promises to return and that he will have answers for her, but he is murdered before he is able to.
The murder of the Baron is what sets Stoker and Veronica off on their adventure together for they desire to discover who and why of the matter. It is quite the journey too. One I refuse to tell you any more about!
I will be honest with you. I really did not find anything about this book I did not like.
I loved all of the characters and the way they were developed. I thought their relationships were well done and nothing about them felt forced. They all felt very natural. I had absolutely no problem imagining any of them and by the end I felt very attached to Veronica and Stoker.
In regards to Veronica Speedwell herself, I found her to be a very refreshing heroine. She is a very strong female that does what she wants and she remains that way throughout the story. She does not need a man, or anyone else for that matter, to take care of her. She can do it herself. She also is very intelligent and witty. This particular combination of traits is not something I find very often while reading.
The pacing of this book was absolutely superb. Just when I thought I would get bored with what was going on something new and exciting popped up in the plot line. It made it very hard to put this book down and do other things (like sleep).
In regards to the mystery aspect of A Curious Beginning, I felt as confused as the Veronica and Stoker. I had absolutely no idea and could only make guesses. Sometimes Veronica reminded me of a female Sherlock Holmes with her powers of deduction. Also, I would not be surprised if Raybourn is a fan of the board game Clue as I was reminded of it a time or two during Veronica's and Stokers discussions of the murder mystery.
Needless to say, I loved this book and I strongly recommend it. You would be a fool to pass it up! And the cover! It is too beautiful to not be read!
5 out of 5 stars
This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley.