Veronica Speedwell is an independent young woman who was raised by two spinsters in Victorian England. After the death of the aunts, Veronica is free again to travel the world and catch butterflies for collectors, an avocation that has allowed her some freedom not usually afforded to Victorian women. Veronica returns to the house she shared with the old women to find it ransacked. The intruder attempts to abduct Veronica, but she is rescued by a stranger, Baron Maximilian von Stauffenbach. The Baron knows secrets about Veronica's past and tells her she is in great danger. He takes her to London and puts her in the care of Stoker, a natural historian and taxidermist. Shortly thereafter the Baron is found dead. Stoker and Veronica go on the lam fearing that Stoker will be implicated in the death of the Baron, and that someone wants to harm Veronica. In their quest to learn the mystery of Veronica's past, the couple join a circus troupe and survive several attempts on their lives.
A strong sense of Victorian England, witty banter, mild sexual tension and interesting characters make this first book in the proposed Veronica Speedwell series a fun and quick read. If you like Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries or Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily Ashton series, you might want to give A Curious Beginning a try.
Reviewed by nw, 09/15. Other reviews by nw.