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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2015 Deanna Raybourn (P)2015 Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By L. Williams on 06-29-16

For fans of Elizabeth Peters and Gail Carriger

I won't address the plot here - others have done so. I do want to address the criticism that the heroine is unlikable. I can understand that her brusque demeanor might be off-putting. She is definitely of a type - a strong, independent woman exercising her own agency in an era when that was not the norm. Veronica Speedwell reminded me very much of Amelia Peabody or Alexia Tarabotti, women convinced of their superior judgment, seldom wrong but never in doubt.

I enjoyed the book immensely. It's character types and plot do fit neatly into tropes we've seen before (an exceptional independent woman aided by a rugged misanthrope with a secret or troubled past - eg Mr Rochester - faces sinister forces). If that sounds like the perfect cozy read for a rainy day or on the beach, then I heartily recommend A Curious Beginning.

For anyone worried that this is written by a Romance novelist, I can only say it is not remotely a bodice ripper. There is sexual tension and some suggestive dialogue, but I could probably give this to my Sunday School teacher mother to read without any concern of offending her.

The best news of all - especially for anyone who misses The Parasol Protectorate and Amelia Peabody series - is that the book seems set up as the first in a series. I'm eagerly anticipating the follow up!

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88 of 90 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Coffee Lover on 02-24-16

Great listen!

Very different than the other Deanna Raybourn titles I have listened to but I loved it. Great character development and sometimes laugh out loud funny. Can't wait for the next installment in the series.

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74 of 80 people found this review helpful

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