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A Curious Beginning

(Veronica Speedwell #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  27,004 ratings  ·  4,066 reviews
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, 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 with fending off admirers, Veronica wield ...more
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by New American Library
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Barbara I wouldn't consider it a YA book, however, I'm sure young adult girls would like it.…moreI wouldn't consider it a YA book, however, I'm sure young adult girls would like it.(less)
Vreggli Veronica Speedwell turns 25 in the course of the book and Stoker is 30 (if I remember correctly).

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  27,004 ratings  ·  4,066 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Berkley Publishing Group
It is a rare day that I pick up historical fiction of any kind; I have nothing against the genre, but I feel as though all the flashy, contemporary books shove my good intentions out of the way and I never get around to reading those golden oldies I claim I'll dive into. Lucky for me, Berkley offered the opportunity to review all three books that currently make up the Veronica Speedwell series and am I glad they did. These books are amazing! I cannot believe it's taken me so long to read them, a ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery

This comes out in Sept, and I got to read an early copy of Deanna Raybourn's new series. JEALOUS MUCH? If you follow my reading tastes you know I'm slightly obsessed with her, we've picked her books twice at least in my Vaginal Fantasy Romance Book Club, so this was a tasty morsel to enjoy, for sure.

I love Veronica, she is a very different character from Lady Julia, and entirely enjoyable in her own way. Sassy, independent, plucky, she's a cool Nancy Drew for the
Robin (Bridge Four)
A lepidopterist and taxidermist run away and join the Circus….Wait what??? First I didn’t know what a lepidopterist was, it’s a person who studies butterflies and when I started this I think I internally groaned thinking that this was about a woman who loved to chase butterflies but lucky for me Veronica Speedwell is far more interesting than that.

Veronica might not be the quintessential Victorian heroine. She is headstrong, opinionated and even has taken a lover or five in her time (she has ve
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn is a 2015 NAL/Penguin publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don't know how she does it! This first book in the new Veronica Speedwell mysteries gets off to a rip roaring start! I absolutely loved it!

Veronica has lived an extraordinary life for a young lady raised in the 1800's. Taken in by her two aunts after being orphaned, Veronica has been shuffled around often, but this has wo
A Curious Beginning is the launch of Raybourn’s newest series featuring amateur sleuth, adventuress, lepidopterist, and lover of foreign men, Miss Veronica Speedwell. Veronica has just buried her spinster aunt, her last living guardian, and she’s ready for another adventure. However, this adventure is much closer to home than she could have anticipated. Arriving home from her aunt’s funeral she surprises a burglar and hitches a ride to London with a German baron that claims to have known her mot ...more
"I have little doubt your bark is worse than your bite," he retorted.

"How do you know, Mr. Stoker? I haven't bittten you yet."

And there's quite the bite in this one. Teeth-sinking......gonna-leave-a-mark kind of bite.

Veronica Speedwell has been raised from early childhood by two spinster aunts in London. 1887 brings the last chapter to that relationship as Veronica returns to close up the small cottage after their deaths. Walking through the rooms she recalls the memories. Such confined quarters
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
I did enjoy the book very much for the most parts. It was entertaining, funny to read sometimes and I really wanted to know what was so special about Veronica. One thing I thought about when I read the book was that even though I liked Veronica, she just didn't seem to suit the century. I mean this is the year 1887, not 1987. She is freely talking about sex, she had several dallies, she even asks Stoker when the last time he had sex and she seems so liberated in a period when women absolutely we ...more
It is strange that I read this one after A Murder in Time, because the heroine in this story is smart, disciplined, and a modern thinking woman of the 1800s, where as the actual modern day woman who traveled back in time to the 1800s did not seem to be terribly smart or self-disciplined. She was unable to stop flinging epithets about, not even to protect herself from exposure. I liked this heroine more and admired her fortitude under extremely trying circumstances. It makes me consider A Murder ...more
♛ may
i know i'm about 5 years late for the hype but this book is pure Victorian Excellence

incoherent stream of thoughts & feelings
- this book follows our free-spirited, know-it-all, opinionated, main character, Veronica Speedwell, a lepidopterist by trade (thats just a fancy name for someone who studies/collects butterflies) who finds her safety in danger after the passing of her aunt
- she is teamed up with a grumpy, unkempt taxidermist due to unforeseen circumstances and now they're working to s
Christina ~ Brunette Reader

5 Fabulous Stars
”But those of us who have been given the benefit of learning and useful occupation, well, we are the proof that the traditional notions of feminine delicacy and helplessness are the purest poppycock.”
Veronica Speedwell, Victorian lady and globetrotting lepidopterist extraordinaire. Her wit, her sass, her quirkiness, her own original brand of early feminism, I loved each and every page in her company.

London, 1887
Just back in England due to the loss of her only remaining
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maybe even 4.5! Very much enjoyed this feisty new character Veronica Speedwell and her sidekick Stoker. A sparky relationship develops between them as they are chased across the country by various rogues and scoundrels. Looking forward to the next instalment. Recommended.
Jacob Proffitt
Jun 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chaste, mystery, audiobook
What an unexpected delight! Veronica has a very strong voice and it comes out strong right from the beginning. Veronica is brash, intelligent, and driven and she engaged me from the start. I was happy to find that her confidence and straight-forwardness never wavered, even when she was was at her lowest. And my favorite was how little time or anxiety she spent worrying about Stoker or catering to his tantrums—and how refreshing he found that treatment.

Indeed, the back and forth with Stoker was a
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2018
This was a very random read for me, but I really liked it! I literally knew nothing about this before going into it, but it was a lot of fun. The story was a little all over the place, but I really liked the main character, Veronica. I look forward to reading the next book in the series!
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The language! I absolutely adored the Victorian language of this novel. This is my first time reading this author, but I will definitely be back for more!

I also loved the character of Veronica, the little spitfire. She had such an easy and oftentimes hilarious banter with the other main character, Stoker. I highly enjoyed their misadventures and sleuthing.

The storyline took quite an exciting turn when the mystery was finally revealed - I was not expecting that at all!

My main complaint, as someo
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: physical-book
In an attempt to be organized:

What I liked: ...

What I disliked: Characters. Plot. Dialogue Revelations.

Let me start with Veronica Speedwell, our main character and narrator. In the first 9 pages, we find that what she calls being "blunt" is really the rudest and most offensive way to say what's on her mind. There are many ways to say, 'no, I won't marry their father whom I don't know and become the mother to his six children' that isn't "'Mrs. Clutterthorpe, I can hardly think of any fate worse
3.5 ⭐
This is my third Victorian era mystery featuring a "modern" ahead of her time heroine sleuth. The other two are Stalking Jack the Ripper and A Study in Scarlet Women. The characters have different backgrounds but all three are smart, outspoken and confident female leads that without 1880s backdrop, you'd think they're from the 21st century.

I'm a sucker for pretty covers! I probably started this one too soon and not quite ready for another similar character. What sets Veronica Speedwell apa
Skyler Autumn
2 Stars

Well that was stupid. This book took me what felt like years to finish. I kept leaving it to read and finish another book then returning getting a few chapters in and going fuck it and grabbing another book from my TBR pile.

A Curious Beginning is about a lepidopterist (expert in butterflies) name Veronica Speedwell that is thrusted into the arms of a reluctant man named Stoker (obviously he is super handsome and shrouded in mystery) when an attempt is made on her life. When a close frie
Diana | Book of Secrets
Yes, it was a curious beginning. :-) This is the first book I've picked up by Deanna Raybourn, and it was an enjoyable read. It's an intriguing Victorian mystery with an oh-so-unconventional Victorian heroine. Veronica Speedwell is worldly, independent, and free-thinking. She has a scientific mind and would rather travel to exotic locales in search of rare butterflies than settle down with a hubby and kids. Unfortunately, her life is in danger, and she has no idea why.

After an abduction attempt,
I don't give 'em very often, but this one got a straight A from me at AAR.

I admit it. When I saw that Deanna Raybourn was going to be writing another series of mysteries set in the Victorian era featuring an independently-minded female protagonist, my initial thought was – “how are these books going to be different to the Lady Julia ones?” But I enjoyed both those and the author’s recent forays into the 1920s, so I was eager to read A Curious Beginning regardless - and Ms Raybourn, if you ever r
I like historical fiction and especially the branch of historical mysteries. If they are set in the Victorian period even better. Add a strong, independent heroine and the mix is more appealing. The problem is that I read a few of these kind of books and it has to be something special to impress me. I enjoyed Veronica Speedwell with her passion for butterflies and the male counterpart but the plot/characters interaction wasn't that different with a few exceptions. What i thought to be a bit of f ...more
** 4 stars **
Congratulations, Ms Rayborn, a very entertaining book! Despite the fact that it took me a little bit to get into A Curious Beginning, soon I was sold and each page went faster, getting better and better and I couldn’t stop reading it. I had to work the following morning, then late at night heartbroken I turned down my kindle.

I relished the mystery and how Veronica and Stoker work together to solve it. I loved Veronica from the beginning, an intrepid and 'modern' woman that is not c
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sep-15
Deanna Raybourn is one of my favorite authors and her Lady Julia series is a favorite of mine as well. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read "A Curious Beginning", the first book in a thrilling new series, set in Victorian England, introducing fearless adventuress Veronica Speedwell.
She's fiercely independent, sassy, outspoken and highly intelligent. Her brazen defiance sets her apart. Then there is Stoker, the male protagonist, who is a dark brooding soul, full of mystery and good
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
4.5 Stars!

This book truly delivered everything I was hoping it would. Never one to shy away from a feisty heroine, Raybourn once again pulls through with a heroine that is every bit as fierce and independent as the synopsis promised, with just the right amount of softness and wit to truly make her stand out and shine. Lovable to the core and instantly relatable, Veronica is sure to steal anyone's heart.

A well written, beautifully told story that is sure to please everyone and with a hero that i
Instead of writing a ragey/rantey review-reaction, I'd just mention that the female protag's charater and attutide was quite annoying and unrealistic to the extent of being intolerable often at times. And the big mystery was.... Meh
Thoroughly disappointed 1.5 stars
Ah, Veronica. You’re the sassiest, most self-confident female protagonist I’ve ever come across in a Victorian setting, and I loved every minute of your snark. This was indeed A Curious Beginning to your story. I’m already excited to visit with you again in the future, and to see what further adventures you stumble your way into further along in the series.
“I abhorred weakness of any kind but most particularly in my tea.”

Veronica Speedwell is a woman far ahead of her time. An orphan raised by tw
Veronica Speedwell is called back to her home from her adventures as a lepidopterist (a person who studies or collects butterflies) when her aunt falls ill. Adventure, danger and intrigue isn’t anything new to Veronica, but she didn’t expect to find it in her homeland of England right after burying her aunt. Her cottage is ransacked, and a German, Baron von Stauffenbach, comes to her rescue proclaiming her to be in grave danger. Promising to reveal all after he gets a few things sorted, he puts ...more
Is there anything a better than a trip back to London in the late 19th century where men are whatever they want to be and women are expected to have vapors, delicate constitutions and while away their days having tea and maybe embroidering? The answer is yes! Give us a 19th century woman who is feisty, a trailblazer and quite frankly, doesn’t give a damn what others think. Meet Veronica Speedwell, a young woman, orphaned and raised by two quirky aunts who have passed on. Veronica comes home from ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, romance
What a fun book to read!

Overall, I liked this book. I enjoyed the Gothic tone along with the humor of Veronica and Stoker bantering most of the time. The chemistry between the two of them was great! I loved Veronica from the beginning, a woman that is not limited by her sex, an adventurous lepidopterist (butterfly catcher to the layman), courageous and honest to a fault. I liked Stoker as well but it was more of a slow burn on my admiration for him. But when it took, oh boy, I was all in! He is
Amy Imogene Reads
My life would have been less exciting without this book in it. So much fun. Fan of Kerri Maniscalco's Stalking Jack the Ripper series or sassy Regency characters? READ THIS.

Characters: ★★★★★
Fun plot: ★★★★
Time period appropriate: ★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★★

So this book is, essentially, a fantastic romp of fun-filled salacious humor and dangerous escapades wrapped up in a pretty package with a kick-ass heroine and her Robert Downey Jr.-era Sherlockian taxidermist companion.

Yeah. It's amazing.

Veronica Spe
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Deanna Raybourn is a 6th-generation native Texan. She graduated with a double major in English and history from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of one, Raybourn makes her home in Virginia. Her novels have been nominated for numerous awards including two RT Reviewers’ Choice awards, the Agatha ...more

Other books in the series

Veronica Speedwell (7 books)
  • A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell, #2)
  • A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell, #3)
  • A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell, #4)
  • A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell, #5)
  • An Unexpected Peril (Veronica Speedwell, #6)
  • An Impossible Impostor (Veronica Speedwell, #7)

Articles featuring this book

Dedicated fans of authors Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan might know the duo better by the affectionate moniker “The Fug Girls,” after their...
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“I abhorred weakness of any kind but most particularly in my tea.” 59 likes
“Mrs. Clutterthorpe, I can hardly think of any fate worse than becoming the mother of six. Unless perhaps it were plague, and even then I am persuaded a few disfiguring buboes and possible death would be preferable to motherhood.” 43 likes
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