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03 August 2015

Deanna Raybourn's A Curious Beginning

What an apt title for the first in Deanna Raybourn's new Veronica Speedwell mystery series! It's set for a US release of September 1st. I received an advanced copy thanks to NetGalley and Penguin. As always, the freeness has in no way influenced my views. [Please note that since this is an ARC the quotes below may end up being different in the final publication. I hope not, though, because I only quote awesome.]

Set in 1887, Veronica is not quite the typical Victorian lady. She's brash. She's mouthy. She's promiscuous. She's adventuresome.

The story opens at the burial of her guardian -- an "aunt" of no blood relation who, with her previously departed sister, took in Veronica to raise after she had been orphaned. Now Veronica is grown and a world-traveler in her own right -- only returning home when needed by her aunts. With both of them gone, Veronica is set to take off with her butterfly net in search of her next great adventure.

Her adventure comes in an entirely unexpected way when her aunt's home is broken into, she herself is almost abducted, and a kind stranger offers to whisk her away to London where she can be protected. The stranger is a Baron who knew Veronica's mother once upon a time and Veronica agrees to go in order to satisfy her curiosity of who she came from (and the offer of free travel didn't hurt, either).

Once in London, the Baron drops Veronica off with his friend Stoker and asks for him to watch over her. Stoker owes a favor and this, apparently, is it. Like most people, he isn't quite sure what to make of Veronica after spending some time with her.

Extenuating circumstances and murder occur (don't they always?) and Stoker and Veronica head out to join a circus, of all things, under the guise of being married. Curiouser and curiouser!

And that, my dear fellow readers, is all you're getting out of me. Well, except to tell you that I quite enjoyed the book, of course. It's not a "normal" mystery with the majority of the plot tied up with investigations and whatnots. Instead, I would consider it to be more a story of Stoker and Veronica and their curious beginning -- which just happens to have some mysteries included along the way. It was a nice change of pace from my usual "whodunnit" fare, and I'll definitely be keeping track of when the next in the series comes around!

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