A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell Series #1)

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell Series #1)

by Deanna Raybourn

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A Curious Beginning 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Veronica Speedwell is an enigma, particularly for her time. Intelligent, occasionally brusque, self-confident and adventurous, she does take a bit to warm up to, but when you see how she thinks and moves through her life, she’ll grow on you. A lepidopterist (that’s the study of butterflies and moths), the recent death of her aunt has left her alone and free to pursue her own agenda by fueling her curious nature. A dead German baron is the tipping point for a dual-pronged mystery, the man having introduced her to Stoker: a historian with a less than welcoming aura (think Capaldi’s Dr. Who). Stoker is an interesting choice, it doesn’t seem as if he will mesh well with Veronica, even as the obvious admiration of intelligence and logical thinking are present from the start. But Stoker grows on you and Veronica as the story moves on: while she first noticed his physique, it’s hard to see him as a romantic lead, but as they spend more time together, she sees that he (and perhaps few others) are not put off by her appearance and strange self-styled wardrobe, and that he listens. Their friendship builds and grows just as each character adds layers to develop into fully dimensional beings, and was certainly a highlight of the story. The mysteries are a bit slow and occasionally seemed to drag out as moments between Veronica and Stoker take precedence, but the ride to the end is just pure fun. With historical moments, scenes and several secondary characters popping in for color and richness of scene and mystery, you can’t help but keep reading to see just what will happen next. With snips of court gossip, current scientific theories and questions around them, the varied settings and even the history the list to enjoy goes on and on. While the possible romance is there, the relationship lands firmly on friendship grounds, with the two working together in a partnership that demands more adventure beyond this one. Yes, the mysteries are solved and feel as if those moments are concluded, but Veronica was a wonderful character to get to know, and I have hopes for these two in the future. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love her use of language and I found it engaging and funny.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Veronica Speedwell is an enigma, particularly for her time. Intelligent, occasionally brusque, self-confident and adventurous, she does take a bit to warm up to, but when you see how she thinks and moves through her life, she’ll grow on you. A lepidopterist (that’s the study of butterflies and moths), the recent death of her aunt has left her alone and free to pursue her own agenda by fueling her curious nature. A dead German baron is the tipping point for a dual-pronged mystery, the man having introduced her to Stoker: a historian with a less than welcoming aura (think Capaldi’s Dr. Who). Stoker is an interesting choice, it doesn’t seem as if he will mesh well with Veronica, even as the obvious admiration of intelligence and logical thinking are present from the start. But Stoker grows on you and Veronica as the story moves on: while she first noticed his physique, it’s hard to see him as a romantic lead, but as they spend more time together, she sees that he (and perhaps few others) are not put off by her appearance and strange self-styled wardrobe, and that he listens. Their friendship builds and grows just as each character adds layers to develop into fully dimensional beings, and was certainly a highlight of the story. The mysteries are a bit slow and occasionally seemed to drag out as moments between Veronica and Stoker take precedence, but the ride to the end is just pure fun. With historical moments, scenes and several secondary characters popping in for color and richness of scene and mystery, you can’t help but keep reading to see just what will happen next. With snips of court gossip, current scientific theories and questions around them, the varied settings and even the history the list to enjoy goes on and on. While the possible romance is there, the relationship lands firmly on friendship grounds, with the two working together in a partnership that demands more adventure beyond this one. Yes, the mysteries are solved and feel as if those moments are concluded, but Veronica was a wonderful character to get to know, and I have hopes for these two in the future. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
thereadingchick More than 1 year ago
We are introduced to Veronica Speedwell, in this first novel in this series. Veronica is an abnormality for her time, she is a scientist, earning a living collecting butterflies. Traveling the world, by herself, a single woman and adventurer. She is unmarried, and enjoys taking lovers, although she has a rule that they must not be Englishmen. In 1887, these things make her very unusual, and as this story unfolds, the mystery of Veronica Speedwell and her unusual-ness (is that a word?) gets even more strange… In a good way! Veronica finds herself in the center of a mystery, her life in danger, and in the company of a scruffy, violent prone, ex circus performer and former upper class man named Stoker. Deanna Raybourns skill as a writer of witty dialogue made this novel, and the interaction between these two characters in particular so much fun to read. Veronica’s inner monologue as she watches Stoker go through every mood swing, and the admiration she feels, but doesn’t allow him to see, ramps up the level of tension. As a reader, I rooted for them as a team, and hoped for them to become a couple. As this takes place in the Victorian era, there was more thinking about sex than the actually partaking of it. That contributed to their tension, with sexual frustration a parallel to the frustration of the mystery they were trying to solve. I have been a fan of this author’s books, and her writing style, and will eagerly await the next novel in this series to find out the next step in the relationship between these two fascinating characters. Thank you Kensington Publishing for sending me a copy through NetGalley, for my honest review. This book comes out in paperback on July 12, 2016.
Lark_BookwyrmsHoard More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Humor, a wildly unconventional heroine modeled after the intrepid lady explorers of the Victorian era, a brooding hero with dark secrets in his past, and a mystery that led to at least one completely unexpected revelation - delicious! The book has all the wit, melodramatic flavor, and precise diction of a good Victorian novel without the long-windedness. Raybourn sets a good, brisk pace without appearing to; her first-person narrator offers up plenty of description, but keeps the story moving along. Whether you're a fan of Raybourn's other books or completely new to her, this is a historical mystery series worth reading. Incidentally, this is one of my few 5-star reads so far this year - I don't give them out lightly. [You can read a more detailed review on my blog, The Bookwyrm's Hoard.]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful ride of adventure. Very entertaining and I can 't wait until the next one.
Anonymous 28 days ago
Jji
Anonymous 6 months ago
i+am+looking+forward+to+reading+the+next+one.
sciencexcharm 11 months ago
To not know who you are or to be an unknown in the world is devastating, especially to Veronica Speedwell. However, to be someone who is hunted, that is terrifying. Raybourn has a powerful story, filled with mystery and adventure. Her characters drift from one bought of action to another and their sleuthing keeps getting closer to the truth. Readers will hang onto the edge of their seats until the very end with this curious beginning. Veronica Speedwell is an orphan, raised by two sisters. Her adventures take her far and wide, across the world on grand expeditions in search of rare butterflies; however, she travels back home after the passing of the last sister. True to her nature, she is caring and believes in making her own way, even after there is no one left to call family. What she couldn’t have expected was that someone may also be waiting for Veronica to be alone at last. When a baron appears at Veronica’s house after a burglary, he informs her that she is in grave danger and takes her to a man named Stoker, a man who is supposed to be able to keep her safe. Veronica has never wished for any man to hold such a prize over her head; she can keep herself safe, especially after what seems to have been a one-time incident! Yet, when men keep coming after her no matter where the both of them go, she is forced to investigate what her life means to these men. Secrets have to be kept as secrets, but whose secrets are they? Raybourn has a mesmerizing tale, engulfing adventure, originality, creativity and mystery. Veronica Speedwell is everything that a strong woman should be. The characters in this story are magnificent and the pace is quick, but very easy to follow. With each chapter, the plot thickens and every character causes suspicion. How will Veronica ever be able to find out the truth when everyone appears to be hiding something? If you are a reader of cozy mysteries and historical fiction, this may be your cup of tea. Due to the author’s ability to captivate her audience, it is a novel that you may find hard to put down after picking it up. This book was purchased by Turning Another Page at a local bookstore and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a five-star rating to A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn.
Anonymous 11 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing!!!! All I can say is that this has quickly become one of my favorite books. With a mix of humor, romance, and lots of mystery, this books is cover-to-cover fast paced action. Veronica Speedwell is alone in the world. She was a foundling taken in by two kindly spinster women who have recently passed away, leaving Veronica alone with time to pursue her heart's desire, chasing butterflies on grand adventures. When she catches a burglar in her home after her aunts funeral, she escapes to London with a Baron who offers little information of her identity, but tells her that he has known her mother and father and that she is in great danger. Upon arrival in London, the baron leaves Miss Speedwell in the care of Stoker, a mysterious taxidermist. When news arrives of the Baron's murder, Veronica and Stoker team together to solve the crime and discover the shocking true identity of Miss Speedwell. Veronica and Stoker are excellent characters. Both are outrageous, witty, clever, and unique. The plot, even with a slightly unbelievable twist, is perfect. The settings are well developed, with just the right amount of description. The only issue I had with the entire book is with the early portion. After Veronica and Stoker meet, he whisks her away to safety to a travelling show. Though this 1/3 of the book helps to establish their relationship and shows some of Stoker's background, little is done (as in next to nothing) in regards to solving the mystery. I found this part a little slow, and kept wondering if the mystery of the baron's death was actually the main plot of the story or if this was just a romance book. Other than that, this book is excellent and a must read. I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A romping read from beginning to end! Enjoyable characters and a great plot twist add to the swiftness of dialogue, and there you are, ready to read the next installment in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Veronica's last guardian has died and she is alone in the world. When she returns to her cottage after the funeral she finds a man ransacking it and she is rescued by a baron. They travel to London where the baron puts her under the protection of Stoker. The next morning the baron is dead--murdered and the plot thickens. I enjoyed this book. I loved Veronica and Stoker. She is a kick-ass broad and Stoker learns early not to get in her way. Both have pasts and Veronica is always shocking Stoker with hers as she pulls his out of him. The world building in the story is good. The mystery is good. The story is good. I hope some of the secondary characters remain in the series. I look forward to book 2.
Samantha1020 More than 1 year ago
I started reading this one and just instantly adored it! Really I was mentally kicking myself for waiting so long to read it because it was just so fun! I kind of had it in my head that I was going to move on to the second book in the Lady Julia Grey series before I started this one. I kept hearing this series mentioned though in podcasts I love so I decided that I just couldn't wait any longer to read this book. I can officially say that it was the right choice for me and I absolutely loved this one! I feel like I read this book with a smile on my face. Veronica is just such a great main character. She doesn't ever apologize for the woman that she is but instead embraces her "eccentricities". She isn't afraid to say what she thinks and I just absolutely adored her as a main character! She also was the perfect type of woman to stand up to Stoker at every other turn. The chemistry between these two was absolutely perfect in every sort of way. I really, really hope that in future books we get the chance to see their relationship develop into something more but the banter between them was just priceless. I found myself laughing out loud at different times throughout the entire book. I just loved every minute of my time with this book! I was actually sad to see this one end because I just enjoyed my time with these characters so much! Thankfully I have two more books to look forward to and I won't be waiting long to read those! Overall I really enjoyed my time with this book and found it to be a five star read for me! I really loved it that much! It was the perfect mix of genres and just sucked me into the pages with such ease. I couldn't stop reading this book and really didn't want to. The characters were great and I'm so thankful that I have more books to look forward to whenever I'm ready to pick them up. Books like this make me want to read more historical mysteries and find new authors to follow. Because this book was just so good and made me want to read more books just like it! I don't know what else to say other than read this book! Fans of mysteries and suspense should give this book a try! I also think romance readers who particularly like historical romances will like this one. To be clear - there isn't yet a romance between Stoker and Veronica (I don't think it is too much of a spoiler to share that) but it is definitely building in the most delicious of ways! I cannot wait to pick up the next book! Highly recommended! Bottom Line: I loved this one so much! Enough said! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss. These are my honest thoughts on this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked characters and storyline
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing and thorough use of language, humor and period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delightfully independent Veronica and her cohort, Stoke, are a well matched inquisitive pair as they seek to answer difficult challenges before them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me entertained throughout! I couldnt put it down , There must be more?!
DarqueDreamer More than 1 year ago
Welcome to the intriguing world of Veronica Speedwell mysteries! Here you will fall prey to danger, intrigue, and a touch of the risqué! You won’t be bored with this fast paced, daring adventure! So, what do you get when you have a brave, scandalously independent young woman, an attempted kidnapping, an interlude to a carnival of curiosities, and an ill-tempered, dark, brooding recluse? Why, you have A Curious Beginning, of course! And an exciting beginning it is! A Curious Beginning was addictive! This book was insanely fun to read! It was full of danger and intriguing twists! Veronica Speedwell was made of “stern stuff” as she put it. She was scandalous, intelligent, and witty! She could have graduated from Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality with flying colors if it weren’t for her love of a good dalliance! Stoker reminded me of an older Thomas Cresswell (Stalking Jack The Ripper) with his attitude and knack for making me smile and roll my eyes at the same time. He was dark and brooding, and not unlike a handsome pirate. He was brave, dashing, and seriously sarcastic. This was such a fun read. It was like an older version of Etiquette & Espionage! I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, the characters, and the story line! It had all the things I loved most from Stalking Jack the Ripper, The Dark Days Club, and The Finishing School series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Throughly enjoyed this story. Loved the banter between the the two main characters . Can not wait to read the next story in the series .
JeanK More than 1 year ago
Veronica Speedwell never knew her parents. Raised by two spinsters, she was self-taught and spent her childhood moving from place to place. Upon her guardians’ deaths she looks forward to pursuing her passion - butterflies. Like many plans, hers come to an abrupt halt when her home is ransacked and she is almost abducted. Rescued by a mysterious baron who claims to have known her mother, he entrusts her care to Stoker, a friend and natural historian. Before the baron can reveal Veronica’s background he is murdered. Stoker and Veronica go on the run when he becomes the main suspect, finding refuge with a circus. Veronica’s character is logical and observant. Fiercely independent, she takes umbrage with Stoker’s total control over her. Stoker takes his promise to protect her seriously, leading to some interesting adventures. Solving the baron’s murder and discovering the secrets that he held are the only way to ensure their safety. This is Deanna Raybourn’s first book in the Veronica Speedwell mystery series. She has filled it with snappy dialogue, close escapes and characters that you come to care for. I won a copy of this book from Goodreads and Berkley Publishing and I look forward to reading more in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But there were tines when I felt like smacking Veronica
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable