NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

3.0 out of 5 stars -- The first in a new series featuring Veronica Speedwell is Victorian era historical romance with a bit of intrigue and mystery.

Newly orphaned Veronica Speedwell is not bound by conventional society and is no stranger to adventure. When her spinster caretakers finally die, she is ready to resume hunting for butterflies and engaging in romantic dalliances with mysterious men -- who aren't English (her rule). Instead, she finds herself mixed up in a plot that involves murder and secrets from her own unknown past. Could it be that Veronica will finally have some answers?

Against her will, Veronica finds herself paired up with the enigmatic and unrefined Mr. Stoker (who has a checkered past of his own) when she is almost abducted and then accused of murder. Veronica and Stoker are soon on the run as they elude police while seeking to clear her name and figure out why she is in danger.

This was lighthearted fare with the typical witty sparring between man and woman who obviously are attracted to each other but pretend otherwise (hate that farce). Not much substance to the mystery and the revelation was a bit of a stretch for my credulity. I didn't really like either the stereotypically clever and plucky heroine (who just seemed domineering) nor the stoic and "rough" man-with-a-past (who sounded like he needed a good bath). I may or may not read another one in the series, but it took me so long to plow through this that I don't know for sure. Much of the book seemed an exercise in reciting the genus and species of various butterflies and other creatures (both are sort of naturalists - how nice, they have that in common).

I've read all of Deanna Raybourn's other books that are not part of series so the author is not new to me. The personality of her female characters remains about the same in each novel.

Thank you to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW for the e-book ARC to review.

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