I've barely recovered from vacation (today when my alarm went off at 4:45 AM, I certainly didn't feel like getting up), and despite the fact that I read a lot in the car on our trip, I didn't get all the reviews done that I intended to (this should surprise no one since we were with friends nearly the entire time).
I had great intentions of having A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn finished up. Instead, I am still reading. That's the bad news. The good news is that I am happily reading this book and quite enjoying it.
Although historical fiction is my genre of choice, I don't read many books set in the late 1800s in London. I definitely like American historical fiction novels better than those set elsewhere.
At least that's what I have always thought. But this novel has been delightful. I thoroughly enjoy Veronica Speedwell who is a unique character. She's a lepidopterist (thank goodness I can dredge up my high school Advanced Biology bug collecting vocabulary when I need it), not at all interested in getting married.
After the death of the two aunts who raised her, Veronica finds herself relocating after a burglar breaks in to her home. The Baron von Stauffenbach takes her with him, which does save her the cost of a train ticket, and deposits her with Stoker, also a unique character.
Stoker preserves animals (taxidermy is just part of his skill set) and vows to ensure Veronica's safety. When the Baron is found murdered the two decide they must remain together and search for the truth themselves.
There is a bit of something for everyone in this novel: romance, suspense, a well-created setting and time period, and interesting and witty characters.
I'm enjoying every page of this novel and am excited to see that there are others in the series already published and a new installment set to be published in January 2017.
Fans of the Maisie Dobbs series may want to check this one out, and Raybourn also authors the Lady Julia Gray series if you finish up the Veronica Speedwell mysteries.