Book Review of: A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Veronica Speedwell has just buried the last of her benefactress aunts, and is preparing to set off on a new scientific journey. Though her occupation as a scientist and lepidopterist is extremely suspicious to the general population in 1897, Veronica doesn’t let that slow her down. Her plans are slightly derailed, however, when just after the funeral she finds herself rescued from a home intruder by a complete stranger who insists she is in danger of being abducted. Curious, Veronica agrees to go with her mysterious savior to London, where he leaves her with the gruff Mr. Stoker under orders. After ordering Mr. Stoker to keep Veronica safe at all costs until he can come to collect her and further explain the situation, the mysterious savior leaves. He is murdered before he can ever explain to Veronica why exactly she is in danger. Veronica and Mr. Stoker set out on an investigation to find who murdered their mutual friend, and discover why Veronica’s life is in danger.
This was the first book I’ve read by Deanna Raybourn, I think, but it was such a fun introduction to her writing style. This is the first book in a new mystery series, starring a very kick-ass female protagonist. I think the style might be considered more steam punk than historical fiction, just because of it’s tendency towards the scientific, and extremely independent female characters, but either way it was a great little mystery.
Witty characters and banter, and a twisting, evolving plot really made this book memorable. The combination of snappy dialogues and mystery encouraged me to look into some of Raybourn’s other writing, and I’ve currently read 4 other books by her, and enjoyed them all immensely. I’ll probably feature a couple more on the blog in the coming weeks.
The slightly steam-punk version of historical fiction really reminds me of The Madman’s Daughter series by Megan Shepherd, but with a less serious vibe. Seriously, it was SUCH a fun book to read. If you like mysteries, and quirky kind-of-historical fiction, check out this series. I’ll be waiting eagerly for the second book in the series…
I really liked it: 4 out of 5 stars