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Historical Mystery Review: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn (Veronica Speedwell Mystery #1)

Egalley thanks to NAL/Penguin

Synopsis from Goodreads
In her thrilling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, returns once more to Victorian England…and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell.

London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository


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 First of all, I'd like to know where Deanna Raybourn has been all my life?! She is right up my alley reading-wise. Gorgeous writing, fabulous dialogues, razor-sharp wit, no-nonsense attitude in her heroines, broody, grumpy heroes, lovely murder mystery and a very, very colourful, atmospheric setting. I couldn't stop reading and grinning.

Secondly, UK kindle price is very decent, and The Book Depository has the paperback with a lovely cover and a very good price as well on pre-order for the beginning of October, so don't balk at high hardback prices. This book is worth buying and devouring. It's a little gem and it just oozes charm.

"Mr.Britten is a farmer with substantial property, very prosperous," she told me. "And since the death of poor Mrs. Britten, he is in sore need of a wife for himself and a mother for his little ones. You would be mother of six!"

I tilted my head and regarded her thoughtfully as I considered my reply. In the end, I chose unvarnished truth. "Mrs. Clutterthorpe, I can hardly think of any fate worse than becoming a mother of six. Unless perhaps it were a plague, and even then I am persuaded a few disfiguring buboes and possible death would be preferable to motherhood."

See what I mean?

Veronica Speedwell is a lepidopterist, a butterfly hunter and scientist who has been travelling around the world, catching butterflies for private collectors and publishing scientific papers under a male pseudonym since she way eighteen. When the death of her last aunt brings her back to England a series of dangerous events take her into a confidence of an Austrian aristocrat and on the run from the law in the company of a dishonoured natural scientist with a very questionable hygiene. *grinning*.

While various interested parties try to catch them Veronica and Stoker manage to hunt for some butterflies, work with a travelling circus show and swim in Thames, which does not improve their bedraggled appearance. Both Veronica and Stoker's past are colourful and it makes them both extremely resourceful in uncovering why everyone is so interested in Miss Speedwell. 

The book is fast-paced and full of delicious, juicy tidbits for any lover of historical fiction. I loved the characters and the writing, and I will be reading everything else Miss Raybourn has written so far. Recommended for the fans of Michelle Diener, Ann Cleeland and Felicity Young. Go, read it!

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Прежде всего, где же Деанна Рэйборн была всю мою жизнь?! Ну настолько она мой писатель, что влюбилась я в эту книгу с первых же предложений. Прекрасный стиль повествования, шикарные диалоги, интереснейшие экцентрики-герои, хорошая детективная линия и очень яркое построение мира. Читалось всё это на ура.

Вероника Спидвелл - охотница за бабочками, которая путешествует по всему миру, ловя их для частных коллекторов и издавая научные публикации по предмету под мужскими инициалами. Излишней скромностью и чопорностью она не страдает и опыт у неё, мягко говоря, колоритный. Когда последняя из её тёть умирает она возвращается на родину, чтобы организовать похороны , после которых её чуть ли не похищают, а её спаситель умирает пару дней спустя. Теперь Вероника и его друг, учёный естествознания Стокер, с очень сомнительной репутацией, вынуждены бежать от полиции, которая подозревает их в убийстве и пытаются выяснить кому и почему так интересна сама Вероника.

Ожидайте быстрое развитие событий, очень ловких героев с богатым прошлым, цирковое шоу, ловлю бабочек и конечно раскрытие тайн. Скучать вам не придётся! Очень советую любителям исторического детектива, творчества Мишель Дьенэ, Анн Клиланд и Фелисити Янг, и я сама буду искать и перечитывать прошлые книги автора, потому как она мне очень понравилась.

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