The Dead Travel Fast: A Victorian Gothic Historical Romance

The Dead Travel Fast: A Victorian Gothic Historical Romance

by Deanna Raybourn

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A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all.

With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh—and a disappointed suitor—far behind. She is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independence.

She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathians, replete with eccentric inhabitants: the ailing dowager; the troubled steward; her own fearful friend, Cosmina. But all are outstripped in dark glamour by the castle's master, Count Andrei Dragulescu.

Bewildering and bewitching in equal measure, the brooding nobleman ignites Theodora's imagination and awakens passions in her that she can neither deny nor conceal. His allure is superlative, his dominion over the superstitious town, absolute—Theodora may simply be one more person under his sway.

Before her sojourn is ended—or her novel completed—Theodora will have encountered things as strange and terrible as they are seductive. For obsession can prove fatal…and she is in danger of falling prey to more than desire.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488084287
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 09/11/2017
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 98,658
File size: 563 KB

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter and is hard at work on her next novel.


Williamsburg, Virginia

Date of Birth:

June 17, 1968

Place of Birth:

Ft. Worth, Texas


B.A. in English and History, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1990

Read an Excerpt

Edinburgh, 1858

"I am afraid we must settle the problem of what to do with Theodora," my brother-in-law said with a weary sigh. He looked past me to where my sister sat stitching placidly on a tiny gown. It had been worn four times already and wanted a bit of freshening.

Anna glanced up from her work to give me a fond look. "I rather think Theodora ought to have a say in that, William."

To his credit, he coloured slightly. "Of course she must." He sketched a tiny bow in my direction. "She is a woman grown, after all. But now that Professor Lestrange has been properly laid to rest, there is no one here to care for her. Something must be decided."

At the mention of my grandfather, I turned back to the bookshelf whose contents I had been sorting. His library had been an extensive one, and, to my anguish, his debts demanded it be sold along with anything else of value in the house. Indeed, the house itself would have to be sold, although William had hopes that the pretty little property in Picardy Place would fetch enough to settle the debts and leave me a tiny sum for my keep. I wiped the books carefully with a cloth sprinkled with neat's-foot oil and placed them aside, bidding farewell to old friends.

Just then the housekeeper, Mrs. Muldoon, bustled in. "The post, Miss Lestrange."

I sorted through the letters swiftly, passing the business correspondence to William. I kept only three for myself, two formal notes of condolence and the last, an odd, old-fashioned-looking letter written on thick, heavy paper and embellished with such exotic stamps and weighty wax seals that I knew at once who must have sent it. I hesitated to open it, savouring the pleasure of anticipation.

William showed no such restraint. He dashed a paper knife through the others, casting a quick eye over the contents.

"More debts," he said with a sigh. He reached for the ledger, entering the numbers with a careful hand. It was good of him to settle my grandfather's affairs so diligently, but at the moment I wanted nothing more than to be rid of him with his ledgers and his close questions about how best to dispose of a spinster sister-in-law of twenty-three.

Catching my mood, Anna smiled at her husband. "I find I am a little unwell. Perhaps some of Mrs. Muldoon's excellent ginger tea might help."

To his credit, William sprang up, all thoughts of me forgotten. "Of course." Naturally, neither of them alluded to the happy source of her sickness, and I wondered wickedly how happy the news had been. A fifth little mouth to feed on his modest living in a small parish. Anna for her part looked tired, her mouth drawn.

"Thank you," I told her when he had gone. I thrust my duster into my pocket and took up the paper knife. It seemed an act of sacrilege to destroy the seal, but I was wildly curious as to the contents.

Anna continued to stitch. "You must not be too impatient with William," she advised me as I began to read. "He does care for you, and he means well. He only wants to see you properly settled."

I mumbled a reply as I skimmed the letter, phrases catching my eye. My dearest friend, how I have missed you…at last he is coming to take up his inheritance… so much to be decided…

Anna chattered on for a few moments, trying to convince me of her husband's better qualities, I think. I scarce listened. Instead I began to read the letter a second time, more slowly, turning each word of the hasty scrawl over in my head.

"Deliverance," I breathed, sinking onto a hassock as my eyes lingered upon the last sentence. You must come to me.

"Theodora, what is it? Your colour has risen. Is it distressing news?"

After a moment, I found my voice. "Quite the opposite. Do you remember my school friend, Cosmina?"

Anna furrowed her brow. "Was she the girl who stayed behind during holidays with you?"

I had forgot that. After Anna had met and promptly married William at sixteen, I had been bereft. She had left us for his living in Derbyshire, and our little household never entirely recovered from the loss. She was but two years my senior, and we had been orphaned together in childhood. We had been each other's bulwark against the loneliness of growing up in an elderly scholar's household, and I had felt the loss of her keenly.

I had pined so deeply in fact, that my grandfather had feared for my health. Thinking it a cure, he sent me to a school for young ladies in Bavaria, and there I had met Cosmina. Like me, she did not make friends easily, and so we had clung to each other, both of us strangers in that land. We were serious, or so we thought ourselves, scorning the silliness of the other girls who talked only of beaux and debut balls. We had formed a fast friendship, forged stronger by the holidays spent at school when the other pupils who had fewer miles to travel had been collected by their families. Only a few of the mistresses remained to keep charge of us and a lively atmosphere always prevailed. We were taken on picnics and permitted to sit with them in the teachers' sitting room. We feasted on pastries and fat, crisp sausages, and were allowed to put aside our interminable needlework for once. No, we had not minded our exile, and many an evening we whiled away the hours telling tales of our homelands, for the mistresses had travelled little and were curious. They teased me fondly about hairy-kneed Highlanders and oat porridge while Cosmina made them shiver with stories of the vampires and werewolves that stalked her native Transylvania.

I collected myself from my reverie. "Yes, she was. She always spoke so bewitchingly of her home. She lives in a castle in the Carpathians, you know. She is kin to a noble family there." I brandished the letter. "She is to be married, and she begs me to come and stay through Christmas."

"Christmas! That is months away. What will you do with yourself for so long in…goodness, I do not even know what country it is!"

I shrugged. "It is its own country, a principality or some such. Part of the Austrian Empire, if I remember rightly."

"But what will you do?" Anna persisted.

I folded the letter carefully and slipped it into my pocket. I could feel it through my petticoats and crinoline, a talisman against the worries that had assailed me since my grandfather had fallen ill.

"I shall write," I said stoutly.

Anna primmed her lips and returned to her needlework.

I went and knelt before her, taking her hands in mine, heedless of the prick of the needle. "I know you do not approve, but I have had some success. It wants only a proper novel for me to be established in a career where I can make my own way. I need be dependent upon no one."

She shook her head. "My darling girl, you must know this is not necessary. You will always have a home with us."

I opened my mouth to retort, then bit the words off sharply. I might have wounded her with them. How could I express to her the horror such a prospect raised within me? The thought of living in her small house with four—now five!—children underfoot, too little money to speak to the expenses, and always William, kindly but disapproving. He had already made his feelings towards women writers quite clear. They were unyielding as stone; he would permit no flexibility upon the point. Writing aroused the passions and was not a suitable occupation for a lady. He would not even allow my sister to read any novel he had not vetted first, reading it carefully and marking out offending passages. The Brontës were forbidden entirely on the grounds that they were "unfettered." Was this to be my future then? Quiet domesticity with a man who would deny me the intellectual freedoms I had nurtured for so long in favour of sewing sheets and wiping moist noses?

No, it was not to be borne. There was no possibility of earning my own keep if I lived with them, and the little money I should have from my grandfather's estate would not sustain me long. I needed only a bit of time and some quiet place to write a full-length novel and build upon the modest success I had already enjoyed as a writer of suspenseful stories.

I drew in a calming breath. "I am grateful to you and to William for your generous offer," I began, "but it cannot be. We are different creatures, Anna, as different as chalk and cheese, and what suits you should stifle me just as my dreams would shock and frighten you."

To my surprise, she merely smiled. "I am not so easily shocked as all that. I know you better than you credit me. I know you long to have adventures, to explore, to meet interesting people and tell thrilling tales. You were always so, even from an infant. I remember you well, walking up to people and thrusting out your hand by way of introduction. You never knew a stranger, and you spent all your time quizzing everyone. Why did Mama give away her cherry frock after wearing it only twice? Why could we not have a monkey to call for tea?" She shook her head, her expression one of sweet indulgence. "You only stopped chattering when you were asleep. It was quite exhausting."

"I do not remember, but I am glad you told me." It had been a long time since Anna and I had shared sisterly confidences. I had seen her so seldom since her marriage. But sometimes, very occasionally, it felt like old times again and I could forget William and the children and the little vicarage that all had better claims upon my sister.

"You would not remember. You were very small. But then you changed after Papa died, became so quiet and close. You lost the trick of making friends. But I still recall the child you were, your clever antics. Papa used to laugh and say he ought to have called you Theodore, for you were fearless as any boy."

"Did he? I scarce remember him anymore. Or Mama. It's been just us for so long."

"And Grandfather," she said with a smile of gentle affection. "Tell me about the funeral. I was very sorry to have been left behind."

William had not thought it fit for a lady in her interesting condition to appear at the funeral, although her stays had not even been loosened. But as ever, she was obedient to his wishes, and I had gone as the last remaining Lestrange to bid farewell to the kindly old gentleman who had taken us in, two tiny children left friendless in a cold world.

Keeping my hands entwined with hers, I told her about the funeral, recounting the eulogium and the remarks of the clergyman on Grandfather's excellent temper, his scholarly reputation, his liberality.

Anna smothered a soft laugh. "Poor Grandfather. His liberality is why your prospects are so diminished," she said ruefully.

I could not dispute it. Had he been a little less willing to lend money to an impecunious friend or purchase a book from a scholar fallen upon hard times, there would have been a great deal left in his own coffers. But there was not a man in Edinburgh who did not know to apply to Professor Mungo Lestrange if he was a man of both letters and privation.

"Was Mr. Beecroft there?" she asked carefully. She withdrew her hands from mine and took up her needlework again.

I looked for something to do with my own hands and found the fire wanted poking up. I busied myself with poker and shovel while I replied.

"He was."

"It was very kind of him to come."

"He is my publisher, and his firm published Grandfather's work. It was a professional courtesy," I replied coolly.

"Rather more a personal one, I should think," she said, her voice perfectly even. But we had not been sisters so long for nothing. I detected the tiny note of hope in her tone, and I determined to squash it.

"He has asked me to marry him," I told her. "I have refused him."

She jumped and gave a little exclamation as she pricked herself. She thrust a finger into her mouth and sucked at it, then wrapped it in a handkerchief.

"Theodora, why? He is a kind man, an excellent match. And if any husband ought to be sympathetic to a wifely pen it is a publisher!"

I stirred up the coals slowly, watching the warm pink embers glow hotly red under my ministrations. "He is indeed a kind man, and an excellent publisher. He is prosperous and well-read, and with a liberal bent of mind that I should scarce find once in a thousand men."

"Then why refuse him?"

I replaced the poker and turned to face her. "Because I do not love him. I like him. I am fond of him. I esteem him greatly. But I do not love him, and that is an argument you cannot rise to, for you did not marry without love and you can hardly expect it of me."

Her expression softened. "Of course I understand. But is it not possible that with a man of such temperament, of such possibility, that love may grow? It has all it needs to flourish—soil, seed and water. It requires only time and a more intimate acquaintance."

"And if it does not grow?" I demanded. "Would you have me hazard my future happiness on 'might'? No, it is not sound. I admit that with time a closer attachment might form, but what if it does not? I have never craved domesticity, Anna. I have never longed for home and hearth and children of my own, and yet that must be my lot if I marry. Why then would I take up those burdens unless I had the compensation of love? Of passion?"

She raised a warning finger. "Do not collect passion into the equation. It is a dangerous foe, Theodora, like keeping a lion in the garden. It might seem safe enough, but it might well destroy you. No, do not yearn for passion. Ask instead for contentment, happiness. Those are to be wished for."

"They are your wishes," I reminded her. "I want very different things. And if I am to find them, I cannot tread your path."

We exchanged glances for a long moment, both of us conscious that though we were sisters, born of the same blood and bone, it was as if we spoke different dialects of the same language, hardly able to take each other's meaning properly. There was no perfect understanding between us, and I think it grieved her as deeply as it did me.

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The Dead Travel Fast 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
Venus_at_work More than 1 year ago
I am not a huge fan of the vampire genre, but I thought Deanna Raybourne's twist on a Dracula-esque story was very enjoyable. It kept my interest, and in fact I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! There was a little romance in this book, but it wasn't written cheaply or without feeling. I love trying to figure out her puzzles. The characters were fun and made the story more interesting. Very enjoyable and spooky.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A typical Harlequin romance. No plot to speak of. Characters were one dimensional and the ending was telegraphed by the second chapter. Have read the Lady Julia Grey books and enjoyed them for their sizzle, fast pace, and good characterizations. This book falls flat in all areas.
GianninaVS More than 1 year ago
You're not going to get that time back, either. It should have been a fun spin on the Dracula story with a young woman travelling to Transylvania and coming into contact with vampire legends - and maybe reality? I read the book because I have enjoyed Deanna Raybourn's other books, but this just didn't work for me. It seemed like Raybourn was slumming it a little; I bet it was fun to write, and easy, but probably because it ended up being pretty paint-by-numbers. I actually didn't remember what this book was about until I saw the cover again a couple weeks later. Not a good sign. Her "Lady Julia Grey" series, which starts with "Silent in the Grave" is even more escapist-y fun, but smarter.
JerseyAngel More than 1 year ago
I, like many others that have read this book, are big fans of the Lady Julia Grey series. Of course, we will all compare it to the series and I did at first. I was a little disappointed because I felt it didn't quite stand up to the excellence we had come to expect from Lady Grey. After I stopped comparing and let myself be swept away in the story, I found it rather enjoyable. It's a dark gothic tale in a very interesting setting. This sort of reminded me of Julia Grey meets Jane Eyre. The dark castle, the master who can't be understood or tamed, the girl not sure if she will have her happy ending all mixed with murder & mystery. It was an easy read with a surprising ending. As long as you don't go into it expecting to find the same quality as the Grey series, I think you will find it enjoyable.
cherryblossommj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 2007, thanks to Michelle Moran's blog I discovered "Silent in the Grave", the first in the Julia Grey series. Then I impatiently waited and read "Silent in the Sanctuary" within days of the release and considered myself a real fan of Deanna Raybourn. After reading the third book in the Julia Grey series "Silent on the Moor" I could not wait for more. When I found out that author Deanna Raybourn would be writing a different book off of the Julia Grey series, I was intrigued, but uncertain.Finally, I had my hands on an ARC of "The Dead Travel Fast". I was still curious but cautious. Whenever you really get into an author for one series, you never know as a reader if it is the author or the characters that you are so enamored with. While reading TDTF I can tell you that I absolutely love the Lady Julia Grey character and miss her and look forward to more from her... but it is definitely the story telling voice of Deanna that captures the audience and makes them reading her stories with rapid page turning succession.Having such enchanted locations such as Edinburgh and Transylvania, a new Raybourn heroine Theodora draws a reader in with a storytelling voice of strength that intrigues for more. Each chapter provides great depth of description that begs for more. It is truly a mystery and one can hardly know what is indeed fact or farce for the characters. It is truly enjoyable to read a tale where the mystery is not revealed too easily and suppositions go round and round.Theordora Lestrange is no Lady Julia, and the bewitching Count Andrei Dragulescu is no Brisbane, but they carry their force and are alluring on their own. And on a final thought, there could not have been a better ending, and I indeed did not see it coming.*Thanks to author Deanna Raybourn and Stephanie of Nancy Berland PR for providing a copy for review.*
bookmagic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Theodora Lestrange is living with her sister and brother-in-law in Scotland unsure of what is next in her life. She is trying to make a living as a writer, not easy in Victorian times. Her sister wants her to find someone to marry and her publisher has proposed marriage to her. But while Theodora is fond of him, she wants true love. So when a former school friend, Cosmina invites her to stay with her for several months in a castle in Transylvania, Theodora jumps at the chance. She thinks the atmosphere will be perfect for the novel she wants to write. She is immediately attracted to the strange Count Andrei Dragulescu, Cosmina's cousin. But Theodora finds that the stories Cosmina used to tell her in school are not just considered folklore by the townspeople and that they believe in werewolves and vampires. After a maid in the castle is found dead with fang marks in her neck, Theodora is unsure what to review: I enjoyed the author's Lady Julia series and was unsure what to expect of this novel. But I really liked the Gothic atmosphere and the creepy characters. Theodora is young but knows what she wants. I liked her a lot. I also thought Andrei sounded sexy even while I wondered if he was a vampire.I know some have been disappointed in this novel as compared to her series but I think I liked this one better. It was deliciously creepy and as it is a stand alone novel it didn't get bogged down with setting things up for future books. Of course I liked Theodora and Andrei so much that I would like it to be a series but then their relationship would have dragged on like Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane.This is not a paranormal book but a dark, thriller in an excellent setting. It seemed like the author really did her research and created a fantastic mystery. I would have loved to stay in a castle in Transylvania though I would have been scared silly. I thought that the ending had some nice twists and I was unsure what to expect for much of this novel. It was worth the read alone for the atmosphere but Raybourn served up much more. I was sorry to have it end. This is a definite re-read for me!my rating- 4.5/5
fiaminggiory on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd first like to say that I often page through a book before reading it.. sometimes to fully experience that "New Book Smell," sometimes just to see if there is anything eye-catching in the pages. So I almost immediately found the Reader's Guide questions at the end of the book, and I loved it. I think it's wonderful to include something like that in a book, of course I didn't understand them all when I first saw them. But it was certainly nice to re-think about parts of the book after knowing the end result, to see the little clues that popped up during the course of the story, etc.I pretty much devoured this book. I loved the writing style, the prose, half the time I honestly felt like I was in the time period mentioned. And the descriptions of the castle and the town around it - ahhh, I want to go! It made me feel almost homesick for a place I've never been, and definitely never lived. The setting was described a few times as like from a fairytale, and I can just about picture it. As much as I loved the writing, it was also the only place I could find any fault or issue, and what a small one it is. I noticed a few phrases used maybe a few too many times. For example, the author used "stomach turned to water" several times, and maybe it was just me, but it kept making me pause after the first few times it was used. The phrase wasn't used out of place, it just took me out of the story when it was used. But frankly, that's such a small thing, it wasn't nearly enough to make me dislike the book in the slightest.And I loved the mystery element to the story. Was it really a vampire? Were all the myths circulating the area just that - myths? Or true stories passed down so people didn't forget what had happened, and could happen again. Or maybe it wasn't a vampire. Maybe it was just some twisted person. These points were foremost on Theodora's mind for a good portion of her vacation. And I loved that we got the same amount of information as Theodora did, so we could try to figure out the big mystery for ourselves.I'm going to give "The Dead Travel Fast" by Deanna Raybourn a FOUR out of FIVE. I really did love this book. I hope to check out more by this author sometime soon. Especially if more of her novels have such an interesting supernatural spin on things.
Jubercat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a huge disappointment after the Gray/Brisbane series. I found it to be very silly, especially the names of the main characters. It felt like a parody of a gothic novel. I had to skim to finish it. Sorry, Ms. Raybourn, I really wanted to like it.
igjoe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this to be a surprisingly wonderful book. It seems everyone is trying to get in on the 'vampire' craze of today, but this book stands alone. Thrilling characters, fabulous plot twists. I devoured this novel in just two nights. It had a very classic feel, but still remained fresh and unique. I have never read any of Ms. Raybourn's novels before this and now I am inspired to pick up some of her other works. Can't wait!
revslick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Most people are familiar with Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey mysteries. This novel takes some elements from them like a strong leading lady and a nice lead in to a mystery to be solved. Unfortunately, this novel doesn't hold up as well as her Lady Julia series. It is still a nice easy read because she has a good sense for telling an engrossing story. The writing feels natural and progresses great until the last 30 pages, which tries to wrap everything up too soon. Personally, I think the author can't decide whether to go all out supernatural thriller or scientific sleuthing. One can do both but both have to be held in balance, which the author doesn't. In short, it is still a nice read, but Deanna could have pushed the supernatural boundaries a little more and had a good story turn great.
nvrlvedurmind on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Dead Travel Fast is the story of Theodora who finds herself in a castle in Transylvania where she hopes to find inspiration for a book. There she encounters murder, vampires, mystery and what she longs for the most: passion. She quickly falls in love with Count Andrei, the master of the castle. Personally, I don't really know what to make of it. It is well written but it quickly changed plots going from a vampire story, to a romance, to a mystery one and I don't think any of those routes were followed through, I felt the ending was rushed.
riverwillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is an elegant pastiche of late Victorian Gothic. 'Dracula' is clearly an inspiration, but Theodora owes much to the 'New Woman' heroines of late Victorian novel, fortunately the modern twist means that Theodora doesn't share the same fate that contemporary, often male, writers bestowed on their heroines. I love the Julia Grey series and sadly, and probably unfairly, this book suffers in comparison, as the wit is not quite so sparkling and the chemistry between Theodora and her Count is interesting but fairly straightforward, which mean that the book is just not as compelling and fun as that shown in 'Silent in the Grave'.
Kasthu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Theodora Lestrange is a budding author who receives an invitation from her friend, Cosmina, to stay in her fiancee¿s castle in Transylvania. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to gain inspiration for the novel she¿s always wanted to write, Theodora goes to Transylvania¿and finds herself immediately attracted to the castle¿s owner, count Andrei Dragulescu.I¿m not quite as fond of this novel as I am of Raybourn¿s Lady Julia Grey series, and I¿ll tell you why. Theodora Lestrange is a pale copy of Lady Julia, I¿m afraid, unrestrainedly modern and not quite as interesting. There¿s not quite the same amount of wittiness that Lady Julia gave us time after time. There are also a lot of discrepancies in her character, especially when it came to her friendship with Cosmina.I can¿t help but compare this romance to the one between Lady Julia and Brisbane in Raybourn¿s Silent series. I think the problem lies in the fact that, whereas the Lady Julia-Brisbane romance had time to evolve over a few novels, here the romance aspect simply seems rushed, and based more upon physical chemistry rather than emotional or mental (how many times are we told about how physically attractive the count is?). We¿re told over and over that there¿s a mental connection, but I¿d rather see it firsthand.I loved the premise of the book, and I wish that there had been more of the supernatural in it. Theodora is the ultimate skeptic, I know, but I would have liked to have seen more vampires, werewolves, strigoi, or whatever. This book had the potential to be extremely scary, but I thought it fell down in that aspect. Also (and this is a minor point but it annoyed me all the same), the author is very selective about the British spellings she uses (why "faery", for example, and not "mediaeval?").Deanna Raybourn is a talented writer, and she knows her Victorian period extremely well. She¿s obviously put a lot of time and energy into the research and writing of this book, but I for one can¿t wait until she returns to the Lady Julia Grey series. If you¿re a newcomer to Deanna Rayboun¿s novels, this is probably not the place to start.
CFoxyLady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
All you need for a great read; a big castle, a handsome Count, and a good mystery.
Litfan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I struggled with how to rate this book. The first third drew me in instantly: a spirited heroine goes to a creepy, centuries-old castle in Transylvania to attend her friend¿s wedding and work on her novel. The setting was well-described by the author such that you feel you¿re there. There¿s good slow, suspenseful build-up to the mysteries that surround the house and the family of the Count, to whom Theodora is instantly attracted. The middle part of the book seemed to drag; some of Theodora¿s behavior was so out of character from how she had initially been presented, that at times I found her irritating. It seemed like the author was trying to show how living in such a haunting atmosphere would affect someone¿s character, but it was so jolting that it didn¿t seem realistic. Characterization was sacrificed in the interest of plot development.The last part picked up again, with some thrilling plot twists that I didn¿t see coming (and I can usually spot them miles away). It regained the momentum of the first part of the book, along with the spine-tingling anticipation and suspense. The good qualities of the book include a wonderfully rendered Gothic atmosphere, romance, and suspense. I would have given it four stars, if not for the middle third. Worth reading, particularly if you like mysteries, but it could definitely have been more even with more attention to consistent character development.
stonecoldfoxonfire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Dead Travel Fast isn't quite a bodice-ripper, but it might as well be. Raybourn creates a gorgeous setting for her gothic piece set in Victorian Transylvania. Protagonist Theodora represents the "new woman" of the time period, while Count Dragulescu is your standard tall, dark, handsome, and tortured love interest. Nothing about this book is incredibly orginial, and the vampire motif in general is way past overdone in today's literature. However, fans of the genre will enjoy the clever banter between the two leads. Raybourne seems to know her history; it's not an unintelligent read, nor is it boring. It's biggest flaw is that it simply isn't breaking any new ground.
GirlMisanthrope on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An anachronistically driven heroine who solves a murder in superstitious Transylvania and finds love in the process. While I appreciated her character development and her descriptions of eastern Europe were well-developed, I just couldn't get past the author's lines like these:"He was a creature of mystery...a conundrum no mere mortal could hope to solve.""...when I drew his clothes away with impatient fingers, I could have wept at the beauty of him."Bleck! Too cliched, too melodramatic. It's "Twilight Circa 1870".
lexxa83 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A stand alone book by the author of my beloved Julia Grey series. This book is wonderful filled with the supernatural, a fiercely independent heroine, mysterious hero and several plot twists that keep the reader guessing. The ending was also fantastic, which is what usually seals the deal on whether I like a book or not. I can't wait to see what other books Ms. Raybourn brings to her readers in the future.
suetara on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love the Julia Grey novels by Deanna Raybourn, and enjoyed this standalone book. However, I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be a supernatural thriller, gothic novel or mystery novel. Even so, a good read.
ut.tecum.loquerer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very much a gothic novel, which I have always found tiresome.
madonnasue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as believable as her Julia Grey series. Although I think it stretched the imagination and left you wondering whether certain tales told were meant to be believed as true or as fantasy. I enjoyed it.
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a fan of Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey series, I thought it would be interesting to see what she did with something new. When I read the synopsis, however, I was concerned because it felt like Raybourn was finding a way to capitalize off the highly popular vampire romance genre. While I know that Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey series is very different from Twilight, in today's book market it's tough to not compare any vampire novel to Twilight. Perhaps Raybourn chose vampires to drawn in genre fans; what she ended delivering was something more reminiscent of the classic Dracula novel crossed with the Lady Julia Grey series.In The Dead Travel Fast, headstrong Theodora Lestrange must find something to do with herself before her dear brother-in-law marries her off to the first eligible bachelor. Theodora heads to exotic Transylvania to visit with a childhood friend. There she meets the mysterious and seductive Count Andrei Dragulescu, her friend's intended, who just happens to be related to those in the Dragulescu family, which much of the Dracula legend is based off of. After the shocking and vampiric death of a servant girl, Theodora sets out to solve the mystery of the mysterious Transylvanian vampires while trying to balance her feelings for Count Andrei.Highly atmospheric, The Dead Travel Fast provokes old gothic mysteries, somewhat in the vein of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Dracula, the superstitions behind the original vampire myth -and Raybourn's original heroine, Lady Julia Grey. I wouldn't say that this book was better than Lady Julia Grey, it's somewhat in the same vein, but not as engaging -even somewhat repetitive in comparison. This book also starts a little slow, and does become interesting, but just doesn't quite to get the level of the Raybourn's other novels.I'm not sure if I would read the sequels, but fans of these Victorian mystery/gothic novels will eat up The Dead Travel Fast, but it just didn't get me excited. While I was glad that this goes back to the original Dracula legend, I'm frankly a little tired of vampire novels -there's just too many floating around out there right now.
wagner.sarah35 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Deanna Raybourn is quickly becoming one of my favorite mystery writers. I have devoured most of her Lady Julia series and embarked on this stand-alone novel. While I did not like The Dead Travel Fast as well as I did the Lady Julia novels, it is nevertheless a good read and I had a lot of fun reading it. Written in the tradition of Gothic novels, set in Transylvania, and filled with legends of vampires and werewolves, The Dead Travel Fast is a good tale, even if it lacks the vivacity of Raybourn's other works.
WeaselOfDoom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have stumbled upon Deanna Raybourn after seeing rave reviews of her Lady Julie Grey books on, and really enjoyed them. So, when I won a copy of her stand-alone novel, The Dead Travel Fast, from's Early Reviewers Program, I was ecstatic. I got the book, read it, and then life interfered and here I am, a year later, finally reviewing it.Theodora Lestrange is a non-nonsense young Scotswoman who wants to be a writer. She does to Transylvania to visit her friend, and discovers herself in a Gothic castle complete with a mysterious Count and supernatural happenings.Deanna Raybourn has stated that "The Dead Travel Fast" is her homage to the Victorian Gothic Romances, and she does a great job of that. However, I had a hard time getting into the romance, and some information pertaining to the villain should have been made known a lot sooner, in order for it to be believable.
peleluna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not a bad summer read courtesy of Early Reviewers. I couldn't decide if the author wanted to go the Gothic Romance route or the supernatural one. The book certainly works as the former, but struggles as the latter. I expected a vampire read, but was pleasantly surprised for a gothic read. The story was engaging, but the transitions were a bit choppy and certain premises weren't fully developed (e.g., Cosmina's sudden personality shift, the romance between Theodora and Andrei, Florian's reconciliation of his music career and his present life). The book had a lot of potential, but wasn't focused on what direction it wanted to take, except for an ending that was expected.