This book could’ve been an easy five stars BUT the author did not SINK THE SHIP. Instead, she tortured me for 300+ pages with their cat and mouse and while I enjoy a slow burn THIS IS WAS DELICIOUSLY AGONIZING. I’ve never been so mad at an ending but I get that it was intentional. The Curious Beginning is the first installment of the Veronica Speedwell mysteries. While it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, you definitely will want to go pick up the second book to see what mess Veronica and Stoker will get themselves into.
Veronica Speedwell is a spinster of sorts and after the death of her aunt, and criminal breaks into her house and threatens her life. She is then saved by a baron who opens a window to an adventure she never thought she needed.
I loved this book so much. The characters have so much chemistry and Veronica, while brilliant and hilarious, is a flawed character. She’s very hasty and brazen, while these are good qualities, I can see that later being a huge problem. The banter alone could’ve sustained me. To hell with the plot. The plot actually was background noise to me. The whole time I just wanted Veronica and Stoker to kiss. Deanna Raybourn is a master at wit and her writing, at first was a little verbose, but it all came together eventually.
I’m usually hesitant with books that start off with the heroin and hero annoying each other. That dynamic can become toxic really quick and unbelievable but that wasn’t this kind of story. Stoker and Veronica are endeared by each other from the beginning even though they bicker. It’s light hearted and Stoker comes to accept Veronica for who she is. He doesn’t force her to compromise her personality he just lets her be bold and crass. I could not have asked for better in a couple. Usually it’s the other way around in romance. Brooding guy reminds the girl how much she annoys him and cuts at her self esteem a bit by being emotionally vacant. Nope. Not this time around and I must thank Mrs. Raybourn for that.
TLDR; This book sets up for a greater story and the romance takes a back seat. Again, I love slow burns but I don’t like it when my feelings are played with for an entire book only to have to wait for the second one. THAT’S JUST MY PERSONAL OPINION someone else might enjoy it.
If you are expecting the ship to bump butts, you might have to wait.