(But say it with a British accent or it does NOT work)
Let me be frank here (hi Frank!) when I say that the “cozy” mystery realm isn’t near my usual reading-enjoyment kingdom. It’s not even next door. Or around the block. Most of these books I consider well, lame (use your Eric Cartman voice). This book? Not so lame. And dare I say (Dare! Dare!) enjoyable??
The run down: Our protagonist Veronica Speedwell attends to the funeral details for her aunt, is attacked my a thug, is followed by and then befriended by a mysterious baron who convinces her to accompany him to London, leaves her with a trusted friend and then dies on her (don’t you hate that). This trusted friend, who goes by simply “Stoker” (Best. Porn. Name. Ever.) swears to protect Veronica to the bitter End. Even though neither has a clue what’s going down. And thus The Curious Beginning begins.
First – to enjoy this book, you must suspend disbelief. That a single woman would meet a stranger and within oh, 10 minutes, decide to run off with him because he ominously says she is in danger – you have to accept that. Even when Speedwell assures the reader she has travelled far and wide and learned from Amazonians how to defend herself. That an experienced, savvy, SMART woman would do that? Yeah… Accept it.
Then she decides to trust Stoker (bow chicka wow wow), a gruff beast of a man who irks her to no end. Refreshingly, Veronica is no damsel in distress. She drinks, sleeps with Victorian era hotties, and doesn’t let a man tell her what to do. Except she pretty much does what the men tell her to do. Damn it. (Sigh) But she is I suppose more liberated than your average Victorian lady. Just go with it…
The mystery itself is a bit easy to assemble but the adventure in arriving there was cheeky good fun. Stoker and Speedwell make one of those fantastic teams – the witty banter, the sexual tension. Oh baby! It was “Moonlighting ” good.
(Bruce Willis btw? STILL hot).
The other visual image – the Mummy. Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz? Like that. And like the Mummy, the fun in reading this book is watching it all unfold. The mystery is there and that’s the side show. The main attraction (pun totally intended) is watching these two hook up. Or not hook up. Or get so cloyingly close to hooking up that you rip pages out of the book in a maddening substitute for bodice ripping (never happened.) (Really, I have a Kindle).
I’m not a romance reader so to bait me was quite an effort as well. But I fell into the story and decided to drift on the light breeze of a mystery, paddling in the English pool, and enjoying my time spent.
Recommended to: women. It’s chic lit. Anyone looking for a beach read. Escapist cozy cottage mystery. Airplane reading. Fans of Moonlighting.
Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest (and might I add, cheeky) review.