Book Review: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Curious Beginning HCA Curious Beginning (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery)
Deanna Raybourn
9780451476012, New American Library (Penguin), $26.95
9780451476029, Berkeley (Penguin), $15

Publisher description: London, 1887. After burying her spinster aunt, orphaned Veronica Speedwell is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as with fending off admirers, Veronica intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans when Veronica thwarts her own attempted abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, who offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker, a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian. But before the baron can reveal what he knows of the plot against her, he is found murdered—leaving Veronica and Stoker on the run from an elusive assailant as wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

WildlyRead Shelf-talker: An exciting new sleuth thwarts cranky Englishman, abduction attempts, and life-threatening maneuvers while searching for clues to who she is and why someone is causing all this fuss over a simple, independently-minded, refreshingly modern, lady butterfly hunter.

Personal Notes: As the shelf-talker says, I was so excited to discover a new mystery-solving heroine from this time period that wasn’t a simpering fool dedicated more to finding a husband than solving the mystery! Though I do delight in sexual tension slowly building between Veronica and Stoker, and thoroughly support her enlightened look at taking lovers (never in England, never Englishmen), I much prefer that tension to simmer while their friendship and sleuthing partnership grows. I’m excited to read more about this duo!

And because I sometimes do things backwards, if you would like to read my review of the second book in this series, I’ve already published that here.

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