Wednesday, July 6, 2016

strictly literary: a curious beginning by deanna raybourn

veronica speedwell, the main character of a curious beginning, is who i imagine flavia de luce will grow up to be though poisons not butterflies are flavia's passion. i have read all the flavia de luce novels, and enjoyed them. and i enjoyed this start to a new series too. our intrepid heroine lives in victorian era england at the time of queen victoria's jubilee celebration. when the last of her guardians passes away, veronica is left alone in the world, and in danger, though for most of the novel she refuses to accept that she is in danger.

a kind older gentleman, a german baron, comes to her rescue early on, and brings her to london under his protection with the promise of more information about her past after he secures the necessary permissions to reveal some long-held secrets about her birth. for safe-keeping he leaves her with a friend known as stoker and promises to return with more to share. except the baron is murdered and stoker and veronica find themselves taking flight unsure of the dangers that await them if they stay in london.

stoker is an interesting character, an enlightened male especially for the time period, he is a scientist too. and his past holds so many demons and dangers that we don't even get to hear all his secrets in this first novel of the series. veronica is more of an open book, though part of me wishes she wouldn't proclaim her precociousness so loudly, sometimes it's more fun to witness precociousness than to be told all about it all the time. veronica is proud of her independence and her intelligence, and well she should be.

and as she and stoker figure out the mysteries of her past, the relationship that grows between them is so bittersweet. these are two people who have incredible baggage and unbound curiosity. two peas in a pod, and as close as they get during the course of the novel there is still so much that keeps them apart. i imagine that future novels will see that relationship grow, and i think that it is definitely one worth exploring.

**the paperback version of a curious beginning is set to publish on july 12, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/berkeley publishing group in exchange for my honest review.

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