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Review: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

51rq+TsYHFL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical
Publisher: NAL
Publish Date: Sep 1, 2015

Veronica Speedwell is an anomaly.  Raised at a time when women are revered for their beauty and not supposed to have exceeding intellect, she continually breaks the mold.  A professional lepidopterist, she’s traveled the world with two spinster ladies and those travels have taught her much.  So when she’s left on her own by her final ‘aunt’s’ passing, she’s not frightened or worried.  Everyone expects that she’ll find a husband and settle down.  But adventure is in her blood.  She has every intention of enjoying her single life.

But then circumstances get a little strange and Veronica finds herself in the company of a distinguished Baron who insists that she’s in danger. An encounter with a burglar at the home she shared with her aunt doesn’t exactly lead her to believe the Baron is right, but it does make her think that going with him is a reasonable option.  And thus begins the biggest adventure Veronica has ever had.  Soon murder, kidnapping and violence become a regular part of her life. The mystery that unfolds before her is one that she cannot ignore.

And thus begins the first of a new series of books from Deanna Rayborn. Packed with everything from light hearted banter to life threatening action, this new heroine is interesting, adventurous and definitely fun to follow. Though there were moments that I felt the author was pushing the current standards of female behavior a little too heavily for it to feel completely comfortable, I was still able to enjoy the way the story unfolded and the growth of Veronica, the main character. In fact, unlike many current novels, by the end you could see a definite development and growth in the main character that was shaped by the circumstances of the story. This was, indeed, fun to experience as we got further and further into things.

The plot was fast paced with twists and turns that were surprising and engaging. At one point, I guessed at what the major reveal of the story was going to be, but it was still done with such flair and sleight of hand by the author that it was entirely entertaining.

All in all, I think Veronica Speedwell could be a fun character to follow through her adventures. As a fan of L.A. Meyers Jacky Faber series, I could almost imagine that Veronica was Jacky all grown up. And that definitely endeared me to the story. In fact, a few times, I felt like Veronica Speedwell was actually Veronica Mars (yes, I loved that show) dropped back in time into a Louisa May Alcott novel.

Twisty historical fun with a well layered mystery, A Curious Beginning was definitely a great start for a new series and I am excited to see what happens in the next adventure.

Review copy provided by the publisher.