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I Belong


Review: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

A Curious BeginningTitle: A Curious Beginning

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery

Series: Veronica Speedwell Mystery (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 337 Pages

ISBN-10: 0451476018 (NAL/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0451476012 (NAL/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Roxanne

Synopsis:

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.

Quick & Dirty: Murder and mystery surround Veronica and she is in a race against time to figure out the truth.

Opening Sentence: :”I stared down into the open grave and wished I could summon a tear.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Veronica is a forward thinking woman in Victorian England. Her Aunt and last guardian has just past away and when she returns to her Aunt’s cottage and find it in the process of being destroyed she goes after the intruder and stumbles into a deeper mystery. She is almost abducted and at the last minute is saved by the Baron. He offers her a ride to London and during that ride she discovers he knows the truth of her parentage. But he refuses to divulge it and instead drops her off with a friend of his, Stoker, who is tasked with keeping her safe.

When the Baron turns up murdered and Stoker is the prime suspect, Veronica and Stoker go undercover to figure who did it. Along the way they begin to figure out that it has little to do with the Baron and everything to do with Veronica. Will they be able to figure out why everyone wants her dead and who her parents are?

I love historical romances, they used to be my favorite genre for a long time and this combines mystery and makes it even better. Almost like the Sebastion St. Cyr books, except with a female lead. Veronica is sassy, forward and pretty kick ass for a Victorian lady. In fact, her quirkiness reminds me of the main characters for Amanda Quick novels. I know I have referenced like two other series in a matter of seconds, but those are some of my favorite historical romance/mystery series and this book reminds me of them in a great way.

I was pretty floored by the mystery and really didn’t see it coming, the author did a masterful job at hiding the central mystery until she chose to unveil it! I love that there is nothing better than being completely surprised by the twist! Sometimes it’s nice if you can figure out the clues, but really, I think we all love the ones we can’t even begin to guess at. I mean, I knew it had something to do with who her parents are, but even I was totally along for the ride, only becoming aware as Veronica herself was finding things out. I admit when Stoker (who does have another) was introduced, I was secretly hoping it might even end up with a bit of a paranormal twist. However, that was not to be the case, but I wasn’t disappointed in the least bit.

A Curious Beginning was a wonderful first book in a series, and I am really looking forward to whatever else Veronica gets into.

Notable Scenes:

“After all, I had been reared in a household composed exclusively of women.”

“I flung open the door, giving a good impression of what I imagined a Maori battle scream might sound like.”

“I had no intention of permitting him to escape me until I had learned everything I could about my antecedents.”

“It was better for Mr. Stoker to comprehend fully that I was no one’s captive but my own.”

“I amused myself for awhile thinking about his musculature and his intriguing tattoos, but as this brought me no closer to peaceful repose, I distracted myself with other questions.”\

Veronica Speedwell Mystery:

1. A Curious Beginning

2. A Perilous Undertaking (2016)

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FTC Advisory: NAL/Penguin provided me with a copy of A Curious Beginning. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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