Today I have a special treat for you – a guest book review by my good friend Ariel, whom you may also know from her monthly guest posts here called Peekaboo’s Corner. 🙂 I saw this book on Ariel’s Currently Reading list on Goodreads, and asked her to do a review of it for my blog, and she kindly acquiesced. Take ‘er away, Ariel!
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
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
This book has been on my TBR pile ever since I heard about it on Smart Bitches Trashy Books ages and ages ago. I picked it up about a year ago, got 30 pages in, and put it down because I wasn’t feeling the banter.
I’m so very glad I picked it back up again!
Veronica Speedwell is the woman I want to be. She’s sassy, she’s smart, she gives zero fucks about what others (especially men) think about her. And when I say smart, I don’t mean the “oh, she reads a lot” that sometimes is displayed in romances. She’s a lepidopterist (butterfly catcher), as well as a student of natural history, and Raburn does a great job of working real scientific discoveries and facts into the book.
The hero, Stoker, is gruff and grumpy without being an asshole. He holds his own against Veronica, but doesn’t feel the need to alpha-hole one-up her, he respects her smarts and her brawn, and they are very much on equal footing.
This is first and foremost a mystery. I found it on a romance podcast because there is definite tension between the main characters, and eventually i suspect we’ll get a wonderful slow-burn romance. The mystery was great though. I am already on hold at the library for books two and three, and book four is coming out later this year.
Also, can we talk about the cover? There have been two separate cover arts so far, and both are gorgeous.
I can’t decide which I like better, the gorgeous pinks and that dress as she strides meaningfully down the street, or the lovely blue and gold art with the pretty Victorian profile.
Definitely add this to your TBR pile IMMEDIATELY. You won’t regret it.
I personally really like the blue cover. SO PRETTY! Thanks for sharing your review with us, Ariel!!