Review: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Cover for A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Title: A Curious Beginning

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Series: Veronica Speedwell #1

Pages: 354

3 stars out of 5
3 stars – I liked it

I have mixed feelings about this book. First off, I loved Veronica. She is a unique woman who refuses to live by society standards and follows her passion of collecting butterflies. She is outspoken, has liaisons when away from London, and is willing to put herself into danger to find the truth. I also love that she refuses marriage and children, even stating that death would be preferable to motherhood. 

Stoker was an interesting man. He is from a titled background but lost that respectability after a trip hunting new species to the Amazon. We learn a lot about Stoker, but not very much at the same time. He is a doctor, was part of a traveling freak show, can throw knives very well, can do taxidermy, and is a naturalist. I really liked learning about Stoker and seeing him start to live again after meeting Veronica. Veronica and Stoker’s conversations were always captivating and I really enjoyed their connection. They definitely have feelings building between them but they have too much baggage currently to do anything about it just yet. So this was a very slow start to a relationship that I expect grows over the series. 

My main issues with this book was the pacing. The beginning was interesting and kept my attention but it really slowed down for me after they traveled to the freak show. I felt that section, while interesting to learn about Stoker, wasn’t helpful in furthering the hunt for the murderer. They spent too much time discussing life and other things and not actually hunting the murderer or searching for clues. It wasn’t until close to the end of the book that I really enjoyed the story again because they were in London and getting answers. 

Overall, this was a good historical mystery with a great female character. I plan on reading book two to see what the next step in Veronica and Stoker’s life is and to see if the pacing gets better for me.

Goodreads | StoryGraph |Amazon

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