Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING by Deanna Raybourn


FROM THE PUBLISHER:

Though a lepidopterist by trade, Veronica Speedwell has been up to much more than chasing after rare specimens of butterflies. Continuing on after the exhilarating adventures of A Curious Beginning, it’s difficult to imagine how the spunky and spirited Victorian-era sleuth could find herself caught up in even more thrilling and dangerous exploits. But young Miss Speedwell is not one to disappoint. 

After weeks of chasing down clues leading to her mysterious past, being on the run for her life, and having quite literally run off to join a traveling circus, cooling her heels in a relatively calm London already has Veronica itching for her next invigorating jaunt. Happily, just such an opportunity soon arrives at her doorstep in the form of an invitation to the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment dedicated to celebrating society’s most intrepid and brilliant women.

Shortly after arriving at the club, Veronica is introduced to Lady Sundridge who implores her to undertake a seemingly impossible task. Miles Ramsforth, one of society’s well-known patrons of the arts, has been convicted of a brutal murder that Lady Sundridge is certain he did not commit. With little time left to discover the true killer’s identity, Veronica is faced with a race against time before Miles is set to hang for the crime. However, Lady Sundridge is not exactly what she seems either—a revelation that only serves as the first of many that Veronica must make in order to solve the case.

Once again Veronica joins forces with her natural historian colleague, Stoker—her frequently uncouth, though ruggedly handsome companion—as they set off to unravel this dark mystery that becomes increasingly intricate with each clue they unearth.

Although I don't read a lot of mysteries, I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Speedwell, lepidopterist, is smart, accomplished, and sassy; Stoker, taxidermist, is intelligent, handsome and roguish. Both naturally inquisitive and completely fearless, they use the same methods employed in their scientific research to solve human mysteries. Together, they are a dynamic and unstoppable mystery solving team.

But the relationship between Speedwell and Stoker is the most fascinating aspect of the book. They have a great rapport; their banter is both witty and engaging. Clearly there is a mutual attraction and Raybourn does a great job of building sexual tension between the two characters although the romance is developing very slowly. I have not yet read A Curious Beginning and although I would like to know more about Speedwell and Stoker and how they met, no previous experience is necessary to understand and enjoy this installment. However, I am definitely looking forward reading about their future adventures and deepening relationship in the next volume of the series.

Five enthusiastic stars! Highly recommended!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 

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