Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

How do I love Deanna Raybourn's books?  Let me count the ways...

She is one of my go to authors when I have just read something with heavy subject matter content and I'm looking for something fun, fast, and with characters I really enjoy.  My love affair with her books first began with Silent in the Grave (#1 in the Lady Julia Grey series) and was greeted by this line:

“To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.” 

How can you resist a book with an opening line like that?  For this series I have read book 1, half of book 2 (unfortunately I attempted to read #2 while in the middle of 3 classes for grad school) and now this one.  Book 3 alluded to events in book 2 but not enough to spoil what I haven't read yet.  Veronica Speedwell is one of those intrepid female characters that I have come to love in historical fiction-doesn't care a fig for what society thinks, intelligent, holds her own against any man she comes across, but with a softer side that peeks out every once in awhile.  Yes, some readers who like their characters to fit the mold of the time may bristle at such a character but personally I love them!  Veronica is right up there with Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody, Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs, Ariana Franklin's Adelia Aguilar and Lauren Willig's Miss Gwen Meadows poking people into submission with her parasol.

This particular adventure follows Veronica and Stoker as they get sucked into a giant vat of intrigue while solving the disappearance of Stoker's former best friend and partner-a mystery that casts an unflattering light on Stoker if they do not get to the bottom of it.  Synopsis is here:

London, 1888.  As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .

 I'm always pleasantly surprised when I don't figure out the mystery before the end of the book.  Also, while I'm sure must be quite tempting to throw these two complicated souls together in a romantic relationship, instead the author keeps us anxiously waiting for the moment this will FINALLY happen (I mean we know its going to eventually...).  I have come to appreciate the slow building of the deeper relationship between the two.  Anyway, really did enjoy this one and cant wait for the next.  Thank you to Netgalley for the ebook ARC.  :)


On another note, I am happy that things have calmed down at work and here at home to the point where I am actually able to read books again.  Last year I only managed 31 books which is absolutely horrendous for me.  Of course, until august I was finishing my MLIS and then in September I started my new job as the lead librarian of my branch.  So now I have joined the ranks of "librarians who grit their teeth and smile when some poor innocent soul expounds on how great it must be to have a job were you get to read all day".  What with the meetings, meetings and more meetings, book ordering, programs to run, collections to develop and weed, I can honestly say I have not read a single page while at work in over 3 years.  Nice that the stars have finally aligned and I am free to dive into my piles of glorious books again!