Sunday, September 13, 2020

My Bookish Mewsings: A Curious Beginning / A Study in Scarlet Women



I stared down into the open grave and wished that I could summon a tear.
 ~ Opening of A Curious Beginning

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell, #1) by Deanna Raybourn
Berkley, 2015
Crime Fiction/Historical Fiction; 339 pgs
Source: NetGalley

The first in the series, A Curious Beginning introduces readers to scientifically-minded and free-thinking Veronica Speedwell. She is a woman out of her time, speaking her mind no matter the consequence and valuing her independence. She earns her own living and travels the world, and engages in romantic dalliances with no strings attached. When her aunt dies, Veronica sets off to find adventure, only to find herself drawn into an unexpected mystery when someone tries to kidnap her. Then a kindly baron who tries to help her is murdered. She still cannot imagine why anyone would target her. Joining forces with a friend of the baron's, Veronica and Stoker go on the run to not only protect Veronica, but also to find out just who is behind the plot and why. 

Just as I loved Veronica's character, I also fell for the reclusive and rather cantankerous Stoker. He and Veronica are well-matched in wit and intelligence. Stoker is a natural historian who is not so forthcoming about his past. This historical mystery was such a delight to read. I loved the banter between Stoker and Veronica, seeing the slow flame of romance grow between them, and enjoyed seeing the directions the twists and turns took me. I really like Deanna Raybourn's writing style, including her ability to make me feel like I am right there in the pages of the story. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. 


Had anyone told Honorable Harrington Sackville that the investigation into his death would make the name Sherlock Holmes known throughout the land, Mr. Sackville would have scoffed. 
~ Opening of The Study in Scarlet Women


The Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1) by Sherry Thomas
Berkley, 2016
Crime Fiction/Historical; 336 pgs
Source: NetGalley

I admit I wondered if The Study in Scarlet Women was in fact a historical mystery as I initially settled into it.  The author spends quite a bit of time setting up the characters and their situations, letting us into just who and how Charlotte Holmes became the mysterious and well-renowned Sherlock Holmes (because women just didn't do that kind of thing then--not if they wanted to be taken seriously). That is not to say I did not enjoy that aspect of the novel. I did. It was just a bit slow during the first portion, but it eventually did pick up speed. 

Charlotte Holmes has never quite felt like she fit in with the other women of the upper class society she was raised around. A sharp mind, excellent memory, a wish to never marry (despite her father's most adamant wishes), nor does she want to run a household in the traditional sense. She wants to make her own way in the world as an independent woman. And so she does the only thing she can think of: ruin her reputation and run away. 

Charlotte has always been good at deduction and solving riddles. She finds she has a knack for solving crimes as well. She is the first to see connection between three seemingly separate murders, one of which has cast suspicion on her own family. With the kind-hearted widow, Mrs. Watson, a determined police inspector and and old friend, Charlotte sets out to find the real killer and clear her family name. 

I enjoyed this twist on the Sherlock Holmes canon with both Holmes and Watson being women. The opening of the novel pulled me right in--oh my gosh what a fun beginning that was! Charlotte is a formidable character, and I adored Mrs. Watson. The mystery was interesting, although sometimes it felt like it was secondary to all else that was going on in the novel. I am definitely interested in continuing with this series and seeing what Mrs. Watson and Holmes get up to next.  


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12 comments:

  1. Both books sound really fun!! I'm especially tempted to try reading A Study in Scarlet Women!

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  2. these look so good. and I absolutely love those covers, especially that scond one!!!

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    1. Greg - I didn't realize how much the two covers looked similar until I was putting this post together. I really like them too!

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  3. Sherry Thomas is new to me, but Deanna Raybourn I just love her books. The settings and the era in which the stories are set are simply wonderful.

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    1. Mystica - I really love Deanna Raybourn too. And A Curious Beginning was such a delightful read. I look forward to continuing with both these series.

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  4. I loved A Study in Scarlet Women, and I've enjoyed each new book in this series! Charlotte and Mrs. Watson are da bomb!

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    1. Jenclair - I look forward to continue with the series. I especially liked Mrs. Watson.

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  5. I've read a number of different series by Raybourn and she has a gift for really making the world of her books come alive. And I love the Charlotte Holmes series. It's such an interesting twist and Mrs. Watson is the best! I've got the most recent one on my TBR and am really looking forward to it.

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  6. I love Sherry Thomas' series and am looking forward to the new book coming out next month - #5. I think the series gets better and better. I've read other books by Raybourn, but still haven't started the Veronica Speedwell series. I shall do that, hopefully before long.

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  7. i have had my eye on sherry thomas for some time now

    sherry @ fundinmental

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  8. Never read this author before, will check her out on FF. I am LOVING the wee cat you have in the paragraphs - so cute <3 xxx

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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