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From Library Staff

A fun and eccentric heroine. A death. A mystery. A curmudgeon hero. And a 19th century circus. This mystery will make you laugh, shake your head, and read to find out what is going on. Suggested by Michelle C.

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ArapahoeJessica Mar 23, 2018

What an unexpected absolutely delightful read! I don't much go for lady detectives or historical romance, but this was a wonderful mix of mystery and adventure and girl power. Veronica Speedwell is an audacious, clever, extremely capable and spunky heroine, and she's entirely unapologetic about it. I can't wait to read the next and hopefully find out more of Stoker's secrets!

Aug 24, 2017

A curious beginning indeed lives up to the title. I was genuinely curious as I read it and I really couldn't put it down on many occasions. Veronica is a fantastic character, love her strength and intelligence and unending wit. Stoker too. Holmes-esque, but with a feminine twist. Great book and I'm already on book two waiting on the third to publish :).

Feb 16, 2017

I enjoyed the protagonists and the story. Veronica is fun, spirited and honest. Her "partner " Stoker is interesting as well, but what I enjoyed was the building of the rapport between these two. There is romantic tension, but I felt it was underplayed in the best way. They are actually learning about the other person, not just jumping into a compromising position after adventure tension. Good book.

bwortman Nov 22, 2016

Raybourn's deft hand with writing historical fiction set in the Victorian era is once more in evidence in this first book of the Veronica Speedwell series. The book is thoroughly enjoyable even as she establishes the core characters of Veronica and Stoker and works around resolving the mystery at the core of the novel. Veronica is a fascinating heroine with her scientific pursuits and morals that are quite different from the norm for the Victorian era. My credulity was stretched a little bit in believing that Stoker could be quite so accomplished in as many fields as he is but given the general quality of the novel, I'm willing to overlook that single flaw. If you've enjoyed the Lady Julia Grey novels, it's likely you'll enjoy Veronica Speedwell as well although note that the atmosphere of this series is quite a bit different.

Nov 16, 2016

The first book in the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series

cmlibrary_ecrites Jun 11, 2016

This is a wonderful Victorian Era historical mystery. I love Veronica and Stoker and hope they have many more adventures ahead of them!

Jun 11, 2016

In A Curious Beginning we are introduced to Veronica Speedwell. Veronica is a fantastic female protagonist. She is strong, self-confident and intelligent and she doesn’t conform to societal expectations. A lepidopterist and natural historian, she travels the world and collects butterflies. She was raised in an unconventional way by her spinster caregivers who told her she was a foundling, constantly moving from place to place. She continues to live an unconventional life, at her choosing, after she is left alone following the deaths of her caregivers. She, along with a companion with whom she shares a love of natural history, must discover the reason for the murder of a mysterious benefactor who shows up in her life claiming to have knowledge of her origin, only days before he is killed. Veronica and Stoker are both wonderful, rich characters and I hope there will be many more adventures in store for them. I would recommend this book for fans of Victorian or Edwardian era mysteries.

KATIE ESCHER Jun 07, 2016

I was disappointed in this book. I wanted to love it. Victorian mysteries are one of my favorites, but this book just left me sad and disappointed. It's billed as a mystery, but that term only applies to the last half of the book because until then, no one is investigating anything.
The heroine is an insufferable know-it-all, and yet she takes over half the book to realize that a break-in of her home, a near abduction of her person, and a murder of her rescuer might have something to do with her. And that's only after the prodding of her protector. She's presented as this modern woman who doesn't kowtow to propriety, but except for being a lepidopterist (of which we are continually reminded, annoyingly, throughout the book) there is nothing about her that puts her in Victorian times. I know Deanna Raybourn knows her stuff about the Victorian era (I read, and loved the Lady Julia books), but nearly none of that is present in this book.
Obviously I'm in the minority here, but I really thought this book could have been so much better. I doubt I'll continue the series (if there is one).

May 12, 2016

As a big fan of Deanna Raybourn's "The Lady Julia Grey" series, I eagerly picked up "A Curious Beginning". I was not disappointed. Veronica Speedwell is even more intrepid that Lady Julia.

A remarkable character. Interweaving believable characters with historical ones, creating an interesting story filled with mystery, intrigue, and adventure.

May 06, 2016

I'm ambivalent about Veronica Speedwell. Got her 'mysterious' parentage' in one. No surprises there at all and she doesn't come close to Lady Julia or compare with the African novels. She may improve on further acquaintance but I'm doubtful.

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Feb 16, 2017

SilverIlix thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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May 12, 2016

"The starts emerged, shyly at first, an then winking brightly, and a lopsided, waxing moon rode above the trees as we journeyed further west into the countryside."

"There are times when it is entirely safe to show one's vulnerability, to roll over and reveal the soft underbelly beneath. But there are other times when pain must be borne without a murmur, when the pain is so consuming that if you give in to it, even the slightest, you have lost everything."

"The truth is a hard mirror, and I am in no mood to look upon my reflection."


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