A review by genny
A Curious Beginning, by Deanna Raybourn

adventurous funny mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


This book is tagged as mystery/historical fiction which had me expecting a classic, slow-paced "whodunnit", but this was much more of an Adventure with a capital A. It feels like a classic quest story. Angèle Masters as the audiobook narrator is a perfect fit. It's just a good (ludicrous, often unrealistic) time!

The highlight, of course, is the budding relationship between Veronica and Stoker. I love them! I like that they have actual jobs separate from their "investigators" shtick. They go through so many classic tropes
Spoiler- forced proximity, there's only one bed, hurt and comfort, fake marriage, "pretend we're kissing so the police don't look too closely"
...and yet I can't get enough of them! They have real chemistry so the tropey-ness doesn't feel corny. I like that Veronica admits to herself that she finds Stoker attractive, but it's still a very slow burn. I look forward to seeing their friendship (and eventual romance, I expect) develop throughout the series.

The "big reveal" made me raise an eyebrow because it was outlandish and cliché, and was resolved too neatly for all the political implications that they talked about. I'm hoping that consequences will pop up in the next book/s because I wasn't satisfied with that. I was into the characters way more than I was into the plot. A Perilous Undertaking better deliver on the actual mystery! Give me some good ol' sleuthing, come on!

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