Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

As the title says, this is a very Curious Beginning to what seems to be a series that I'm going to enjoy. If you've read Raybourn's Lady Julia series, you will immediately recognize the style of writing.
The protagonist is Veronica Speedwell. The book opens at the funeral of the second of two women who raised her. Veronica is not very sad since this particular "aunt" was not the warm and fuzzy type. Though she tried valiantly to pass on some sort of message before she died. Too bad it didn't get delivered. Veronica arrives back at her house to find that it's been thoroughly searched. But for what reason? The women who took her in when she was a baby weren't rich. There's no secret treasure. And then there's the strange German man who whisks her away to London.
A Curious Beginning by Deanna RaybournNow, at this point, a reader might wonder why Veronica, a woman, now alone in the world, allows herself to be taken away like that? Well, as a botanist, she's a world traveler who knows how to take care of herself and has weapons secreted on her body. And she's a pragmatist. It will cost less to go to London if this gentleman is paying for her. She then finds out that he knew her mother and knows more about Veronica's origins.
However, once they get to London, he drops her off with his friend, Stoker. At this point, I got worried because -- duh -- Bram Stoker. Are there vampires in this book? No (phew). Stoker is a scarred and tattooed man who is NOT happy to have Veronica in his space. And it gets even worse when the German man is murdered and the two have to go on the run...
I really, really liked that Veronica is not your normal heroine. And she's not the type of "modern thinker" that is dropped anachronistically into a story. Nope, in addition to being a pragmatic botanist, she's a follower of the free love movement. But she's got rules, she won't have sex with an Englishman and she won't do anything of "that sort" in England. So her growing attraction to Stoker (who has his own mysterious backstory) is becoming a problem.

Four Stars
Followed by A Perilous Undertaking

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