Release Date: 1st September 2015
Source: From the publisher via EW
Purchase: Mighty Ape | Book Depository | Amazon
Read it in: 3 hours
Word Rating: BABOOM!
In her thrilling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, returns once more to Victorian England…and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell.
London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.
But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.
Starting this, I was worried. I requested this blind on Edelweiss just because the cover tempted me and only afterwards discovered that it was adult which is fine, just adult fiction is never really my glass of juice so to speak. I shouldn't have worried though, this book is AMAZING. Absolute. Pure. Brilliance. I was sucked in from page one and couldn't stop reading until I finished it!
The story follows Veronica a young women in her early twenties who also happens to be a Lepidopterist (butterfly collector for the people that had no idea like me. Also please don't ask me to pronounce it; I HAVE NO IDEA). After the death of her spinster aunt, Veronica finds her life in danger and with the help of an elderly Baron, she escapes to London where she finds herself in the difficult and surly company of the Baron's young friend, Stoker. Stoker, a young man who dislikes Veronica and most other humans, grudgingly agrees to letting Veronica stay with him for a few days while the Baron tries to sort out the whole yucky murder business. Veronica, not one to sit about doing nothing, helps Stoker (who is a taxidermist) with his taxidermy and everything is going almost happily when...OH NO! The Elderly Baron has been murdered! Veronica and Stoker must now figure out why the Baron was murdered and what it has to do with Veronica. This involves lots of adventures, my favourite being joining the circus! THE CIRCUS GUYS. Someone hold me!
Probably the highlight of A Curious Beginning is Veronica. She's snarky, she's intelligent and she won't take crap from everyone. She stands on her two feet with ease and has no problem standing up for herself and for what she believes, but she also has the compassion to give a damn about other people and to think about others beside herself. Veronica wasn't dramatic, didn't try to blow a problem out of proportion by having a tantrum because she didn't get her own way. Veronica examined the problems and decided what could be the best possible outcome for everyone involved before proceeding calmly with a plan. She didn't run off without telling people what she was doing, she included them, she listened not only to herself but to others and I really appreciated that!
Stoker and Veronica's relationship was also extremely wheemly wonderful. They keep their relationship strictly platonic which I loved as it was a breath of fresh air but it also frustrated me SO MUCH because they had so much chemistry together and they brought out each other so well! PLUS, they kinda had feelings for each other but it wasn't explored which drove me insane so I'm really hoping that book two explores their relationship BECAUSE OMG THEY WERE SO ADORABLE TOGETHER ASDFGHJKL. *flails and explodes*
A CURIOUS BEGINNING not only holds everything that makes a perfect historical novel but also everything that makes a perfect book. We have a fabulous story in which to solve the murder Stoker and Veronica must scramble around the country, having adventures and getting into lots of mischief, but we also have a superb plot with a lively cast of characters stirred into the pot as well.
Originally I was going to give this 4.5 stars but ever since I finished it a few months back I keep coming back to it and rereading my favourite parts. And for that, I'm giving it the 5-stars because this book is utterly perfect in every way and I DESPERATELY need the second book!
::Thank you to the Publisher for the review copy via Edelweiss!::
What was the last 5-star book you read?!