… enthusiastic and charming storytelling …
Deanna is the creator of the best selling Lady Julia Grey Mysteries series and my local bookseller suggested I give this tongue in cheek Victoria romp a go.
I really enjoyed the set up: Veronica Speedwell, intrepid lady Lepidopterist (cue scientific passages) defying Victorian mores (kiss-ass heroine) with attractive male companion whilst solving murder. It’s a fun proposition. However, after the first third, I felt that Deanna had fallen too far over to the cartoon side of her creation. There was little complexity to Veronica and much repetition of her convention-breaking, no-nonsense approach to the opposite sex. This, and the very broad brush strokes of plot building, broke the illusion that I was reading more than a collection of fictitious characters being moved around a Victorian toy theatre. And yet, I did read to the end because Deanna is an enthusiastic and charming story teller. I hope the sequel, A Perilous Undertaking, due January next year, brings more depth to an enjoyable construct.
Cover design moment: A bold and attractive pastiche of silhouettes and Victoriana by Julia Lloyd makes for a bright and very attractive cover. She also designs the UK covers for VE Schwab‘s A Darker Shade of Magic series, though I can’t find a website for her studio.
A Curious Beginning was published in October 2015 by Titan Books. Emily at Emily’s Bookshop lent me her copy. Thanks, Em!