“I have known enough women to understand they are as duplicitous and vicious as men. If they are capable of being our equals in malice, why not in our better qualities as well? There are no masculine virtues, Veronica. And none sacred to women either. We are all of us just people, and most badly flawed ones at that.”
Mysterious. Captivating. Witty.
Synopsis from Goodreads with honest, spoiler free review to follow:
London, 1887. After burying her spinster aunt, orphaned Veronica Speedwell is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as with fending off admirers, Veronica intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.
But fate has other plans when Veronica thwarts her own attempted abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, who offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker, a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian. But before the baron can reveal what he knows of the plot against her, he is found murdered—leaving Veronica and Stoker on the run from an elusive assailant as wary partners in search of the villainous truth.
Author of A Curious Beginning: Deanna Raybourn
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was enchanting and downright hilarious at times. I loved the repertoire between Veronica and Stoker. I thought they made a delightful pair! Raybourn did a wonderful job of Stoker being the strong masculine man, protector type, with also giving him a good, strong view of women. I fell as though authors fail at that. Many of them make their men too overbearing or too “roll over and pet my tummy”. I seriously loved how Raybourn portrayed Stoker. I feel as though he is a good man that any young man can look up to in literature and well as any women to look for in a husband. I am dying to know Stoker’s back story!
Now, on to the heroine, Veronica Speedwell. I thought she was downright hilarious. She had the best comebacks!
“Should I be in distress? In a meadow? You mean if the cows organize some sort of attack? I have extensive experience with cows. They almost never do that.”
I laughed out loud, by myself, reading her sarcasm! I think it’s hilarious that she finds most people unintelligent. And often times, she lets them know too! I like how Raybourn made her a courageous woman who never wants to marry nor have children. I quite like that in a young women, because then they go through their adventures and eventually find out that the greatest adventure is being a wife and motherhood. (Trust me. ;)) I’m not saying it is for every woman (everyone has their own unique adventure), but I find that most women find this to be true. I’d be interested to see if Veronica would change her mind for the right person… (please oh please oh please let them be together!!!)
I think the only “snag” if you could call it that, is that the ending was a bit predictable. I guessed a lot of things throughout the book. However, it was such a fun read, that I let it slide.
My overall impression:
If you like historical mysteries this is a great, fun read! And I’m completely hooked! Also, let me end with how drool worthy the cover is!