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A Curious Beginning

A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Series: Veronica Speedwell #1

Rating: 4.5 stars


I received this book free from Netgalley with the hope that I would review it. The opinion that this is a great historical mystery debut is purely my own.


Book Blurb: 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. 


This was an excellent historical mystery. Great characters? Check.  Fast moving plot? Check.  Baffling mystery? Yep. It's all here. I had fun reading this book. It made me laugh, smile and was just an enjoyable way to spend a summer afternoon.


Veronica Speedwell is a great heroine. She is ahead of her time when it comes to, well - everything but its not so much that it takes you right out of the story.  She's a scientist, and collects butterflies by profession. I had to read that twice at first. But by the end of the book I loved it about her, as well as her other quirks. Stoker is a great match for her- intelligent, honorable, yet mysterious and brooding.  Their chemistry works and their banter was great, I was laughing at parts and I look forward to more of them.


The mystery was solid - it took a bit to get to the actual solving of the mystery which is why I didn't give it five stars but I'm torn, because I was so entertained by what happened in the interim I didn't really mind. The denouement I didn't see coming. I literally said, "Whoa" out loud when I read it and then hit Wikipedia. Which is all I'll say.


Solid, solid historical mystery. I highly recommend it. Can't wait for the next one!