Saturday, September 19, 2015

A CURIOUS BEGINNING by Deanna Raybourn


Publisher:    NAL
Published:   September 1, 2015
ISBN:      978-0451476012
Genre:    Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format:  Ebook    
Obtained via:  Edelweiss – Above the Tree Line
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Sad, but not particularly aggrieved, Veronica Speedwell has buried her spinster aunt.  Veronica has been a bit of an oddity in her family and for her times because her great passion is to travel the work pursuing scientific inquiry particularly butterflies.  Her duty to family done she heads off to London in anticipation of her newest adventure. But she ends up with a bit more of an adventure than even she could have anticipated beginning with thwarting her own abduction.  Along the way she encounters an intriguing German baron who introduces her to his friend Stoker.  Stoker captures Veronica’s eye because of his profession—he himself is a natural historian.  She finally has someone she can speak with about her own interests if only he will set aside his pre-conceived notions about women’s role in society.  Before they can cross that bridge another attempt to abduct Veronica is made and the two set off to escape those pursuing Veronica. 

I became a Deanna Raybourn fan with her Lady Julia series.  She has such a great writing voice.  You can so easily imagine sitting down to tea with her and being told a marvellous tale or two.  She brings the Victorian era to vivid life in the pages of her books.  Sadly, something has gone awry since she ceased writing the Lady Julia books and turned to other avenues.  While her recent books take place in or around the same era and there are ties in some fashion or other to Lady Julia, something is missing.  The few Lady Julia novellas fall far short of the wonderful books that introduced me to Ms. Raybourn.

I never connected with Veronica Speedwell.  Her ego came across as overdone and she just did not seem like someone I’d like if I met her in person.  Intelligent, yes, but not very likable. This isn’t the first of Ms. Raybourn’s latest endeavours that left me with a shrug and feeling like I wouldn’t have missed anything if I hadn’t read it.  I’m almost to the point where I’m thinking rather than continue to disappoint myself to simply stop reading her books, at least for a time.

I did like where the story went -- but it wasn't unique in terms of speculative historical fiction.  It didn't leave me excited enough to continue with the series.

This is an objective review and an endorsement of this book.

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