I found out today that I won a copy of Mindy Klasky's Joy of Witchcraft. It is the fifth book in the Jane Madison series. It is a fun series to read. I am tickled that I am getting a copy.
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn is the first book in the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series. It starts out in 1887 in Little Byfield, England. Veronica Speedwell has just buried her guardian, Miss Nell Harbottle. She is now free to go off on her next adventure. Veronica is a lepidopterist (studies and collects butterflies and moths) and a lover of natural history. She returns to Wren Cottage to obtain her belongings and discovers in it shambles. The intruder is still in the house and he tries to kidnap her. Veronica is rescued by a man she saw at the cemetery. Baron Maximilian von Stauffenbauch (sounds douche) is going to London and offers (insists) on escorting Veronica. The Baron claims to have known Veronica mother (but he gives her no details). The Baron states that now that Veronica’s guardians are dead (and it was in the paper), Veronica is not safe. Baron Max puts Veronica into the hands of Stoker (Honorable Ravelstoke Templeton-Vane). The Baron states he will return but trusts Stoker to keep her safe.
Stoker is a natural historian, explorer, scholar, and a taxidermist (of sorts). He reluctantly agrees to watch Veronica. They annoy each other from the beginning. The next day there is an article in the paper stating that Baron Max was found dead. He must have been killed long after arriving home after dropping off Veronica with Stoker. Stoker immediately makes plans to leave London with Veronica. He takes them a friends with a traveling show and introduces them as a newly married couple. Then an article is published after Max’s inquest. He was definitely murdered and Stoker is wanted for questioning. The two of them must flee before they are found. They set out to discover who killed the Baron and who wants Veronica (and why). There is a connection and they are determined to discover it.
I give A Curious Beginning 3 out of 5 stars. I was really looking forward to this book. It sounded like a great new historical mystery. I was crestfallen after I started reading it. The book uses very formal language (and many, many big words making it stilted). Stoker and Veronica bickered and fought throughout the whole book (there was less of it during the second half of the book). It gets on your nerves after two chapters (I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room). The mystery was good, but Veronica was just too over the top. The author gave Veronica too many unusual characteristics. She smokes, drinks, has affairs, travels alone, wear a type of pants, outspoken, well educated (self-taught, of course), speaks plainly and likes to shock people. I did enjoy the second half of the book much better than first half. The mystery was more interesting and unexpected. If the first part of the book had been more like the last half, I would have truly loved this story.
I received a complimentary copy of A Curious Beginning from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions that I express are my own.
I am currently reading Cinderella Six Feet Under by Maia Chance (I should have had it done). I will let you know how I like it. Have a great evening and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader