I thoroughly enjoyed A Curious Beginning when it came out two years ago (nearly to this day), and so I knew that with the second installment in the Veronica Speedwell series, I could expect more sassy hi-jinks from Veronica and more glowering looks from the burly yet softhearted Stoker.
I was not at all disappointed, and of course along with those aspects of Raybourn’s writing I’ve come to know and love, she’s always able to throw a twist in there and send me for a loop. One MUST love a writer that keeps readers on their toes, and that’s what Raybourn does in A Perilous Undertaking, whether it’s what we expect to come out of Veronica or Stoker’s mouth next, what the villain will be up to and why, or what surprises of all shapes and sizes await Veronica and Stoker as they investigate this new mystery.
Raybourn adeptly develops the tension throughout the book, and she manages to keep the banter between Veronica and Stoker light, even as the tension between them deepens. I also appreciate how, as one of her Twitter followers, I can see some of her in the writing of Veronica’s character (for instance, early in the book, Veronica narrates, “Men, I had often observed, were never happier than when they believed they were imparting wisdom.” It’s this wry tone that Raybourn creates so well in the character of Veronica—the duality of a woman in Victorian England knowing how much smarter she is than a large percentage of the men around her, yet being forced to behave as though she is “entirely inexperienced” in nearly all matters in order to not seem better than her male peers.
Veronica is not the only woman that must hide her intellectual, artistic, or other gifts, and therein lies the heart of the conflict of this installment in Veronica’s story. Be sure to pick up a copy and find out what makes Veronica and Stoker’s undertaking so perilous—and also so you have the chance to read one of the writers I so thoroughly enjoy (she might get her very own bookshelf soon, because I’ve gotten so many of her books now).
NB: I had initially thought to try and make a playlist for A Perilous Undertaking, but I found myself pressed for time. However, as I wrote this review, I listened to Deanna’s own playlist she created for Veronica. You should have a listen, too!
Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries…
London, 1887. Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman’s noose in a week’s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer.
But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia’s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. From a Bohemian artists colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed….