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.
Rating: Narration – B+; Content – B+
As someone who enjoyed Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia series of mysteries set in Victorian England, I admit to raising an eyebrow when I learned the author was writing a new … series of mysteries set in Victorian England. But when I read A Curious Beginning last summer, I was immediately impressed by how different the tone is from the previous series and how Ms Raybourn so very quickly pulled me in to this new story and characters, thus quickly dispelling any concerns I had regarding her ability to do something different in a similar setting.