A Treacherous Curse (Spoiler Free)

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“She regarded him and counted only the damage; I saw only the places where he had stitched himself back together. What repelled her was to me the greatest part of him. Every mark that his suffering had left upon him was a must monument to his strength, the inhuman courage that had caused him to reject death and degradation and every evil with which he had consoled himself on the long journey back from his destruction. He had walked through hellfire and back again and she saw only the scorch marks whilst I saw the phoenix.” – A Treacherous Curse

Title: A Treacherous Curse

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Publisher: Berkley

My Rating: 5 Stars

*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*

“London, 1888.

As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .”

Deanna Raybourn is a masterful storyteller. She weaves a tale so intriguing that you feel as the characters feel. You hurt when they hurt. You are happy when they are happy. Just read again the quote from above! How moving!

One of my favorite things about the third book in this series is the character development. Veronica especially. She starts off this whole shebang as a one woman show. She slowly starts to melt until this third book where she becomes a puddle of emotion, in a good way. Her outer shell starts to crack when she finally decides to let someone in. And that someone is Stoker.

Oh Stoker. I’m thinking about making him a book boyfriend. I adore him to pieces. You get a lot more of his backstory and it just makes you feel for him! And the strength and courage he has is amazing. Why can’t all men be like this? (For the record, I have a man like this. They are just rare. :P)

And can we talk about the plot?! Sweet Abraham’s mother this was good. This was my favorite out of all the books because, in my opinion, it has the best story line. A supposed curse from Egypt, a man masquerading as Anubis, a few murders, AND Stoker’s backstory. Um, yes please.

So, I gave this book 5 stars. However, there was one thing I didn’t like. There is a suicide in this book. I didn’t like that. I don’t like reading about suicide. It’s dark and depressing and I think it’s one of if not the worst way to die.

All in all, I’m still in love with this series. The writing, the characters, the story, all of it just speaks to me. I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes historical mysteries!

Happy Adventuring!

 

A Perilous Undertaking (Spoiler Free)

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“Instead he was offering up his own tragedies to spare mine. It was an act of true generosity.”

A Perilous Undertaking (Book two of the Veronica Speedwell series)

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Publisher: Berkley

My Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

London, 1887. At the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task–saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Ramsforth, accused of the brutal murder of his mistress, Artemisia, will face the hangman’s noose in a week’s time if the real killer is not found.

But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural-historian colleague, Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer. From a Bohemian artists’ colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed….

Unique. Plucky. Victorian. Mysterious. Strong Heroine / Hero duo.

Y’all, I am in love with this series. No joke. I find it to be a refreshing fun read that keeps you up at night because you just want to keep reading! Raybourn continues to excite in book two. We start out with Veronica and Stoker exasperated with each other while he is trying to teach her to throw knives. Their chemistry is to die for. She mainly messes with him because he is very attractive while angry. But alas, she does not dally with English men. Too close to home. But oh, how I want them together. And they want it too. The tension is real. I need these characters together!

Okay moving on from romance schmo-mance. (Just kidding. You know you love it.) Let’s talk character development. Raybourn did an excellent job digging more into each characters pasts without giving away all of their secrets. I’m still dying to know what exactly happened to Stoker in the Amazon and I’m dying to know more about a certain thing Veronica talked about towards the end of the book. This author does an excellent job keeping me on my toes about the characters. Not necessarily the mystery.

Don’t get me wrong, the mystery is fun, but it’s very light hearted. It’s not any deep twisted thing  or even a surprise where you have a “gasp!” moment. It’s more like an, “oh, that makes sense,” type of thing. There are plenty of suspects, but the mystery is more in the details. Ex: Veronica and Stoker get threats and it’s hard to guess where they come from. Or at one point they get a mysterious key and you really don’t know who that’s from until the end of the book. I actually think it’s brilliant and fun!

My Takeaway:

If you like victorian mysteries, and strong, mouthy heroines, you will freaking love these books. I found myself laughing out loud multiple times and squealing whenever the characters had a moment. I truly enjoy this series and am very happy that, so far, each book is different, while still being one cohesive story.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment down below! I’d love to know what you thought about this book!

A Curious Beginning

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“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

*5 Stars*

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!