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Ratings and Reviews (2 29 star ratings
2 reviews
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Overall rating

4.1 out of 5
29
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

    Thanks for your feedback!

    Wonderful characters!

    Yay! I finally read a book by Deanna Raybourn. I can't believe that I waited this long. I actually have had the Lady Julia Grey series sitting on my kindle unread since 2011....I know there must be something wrong with me. So I actually sat down and read this book pretty soon after I got my hands on it and you know what....I really enjoyed it. I love it when a book becomes something different than what I expected. I will admit that I saw the beautiful dress on the cover and immediately thought....romance. I don't know why I thought it was going to be a romantic story. I mean there is no man missing his shirt on the cover or anything. I really do like the cover and don't think it misleads the reader at all. I was just eager to jump to crazy conclusions when I picked up this book. One of the great strengths of this story are the characters. It is almost immediately obvious that Veronica Speedwell is very different than most female characters in this period of time. The way she looks at things are actually very modern in attitude. She speaks her mind even when it not the proper thing for a lady to do. She really says and does what she wants and is unapologetic about it. If I had lived during that time period, Veronica would have been my idol. Stoker is really as interesting as Veronica. This eye patch wearing taxidermist is more than what he seems. The more that I learned about him, the more I grew to like him. He actually respects Veronica and listens to what she has to say. It was nice to read about a man that does not look down upon a woman during this period of time. I think that Stoker and Veronica made a great pair as they worked to solve the mystery. There were a few moments when I thought it was going to take a turn into romance and have to admit that I may have hoped for it at least once. I do believe that the way these characters interact with each other was handled perfectly by the author. The mystery in the story actually kept me guessing. I love it when I can't figure out the mystery. There were more than a few twists that kept the story moving that I found to be completely interesting. I was even satisfied by the ending and appreciate the fact that everything was wrapped up nicely. I would recommend this book to others. I think that Deanna Raybourn has created a smartly written novel with amazing characters. I am really quite excited that this is the beginning of a new series and look forward to future installments. I also need to take some time to catch up on some of her earlier works...including those Lady Julia Grey series currently demanding attention on my kindle. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin First to Read for the purpose of providing an honest review.
  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    Over the top character!

    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.
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