The book, A Curious Beginning, is a fantastic beginning to a new mystery series by the prolific author Deanna Raybourn. Now that Victoria Speedwell's aunt and guardian has passed away, she is free to resume her world travels collecting butterflies. However, her plans quickly change, and she finds herself spending time with another natural historian, Mr. Stoker. He has charming good looks, but a cantankerous personality. We learn more about Speedwell and Stoker while they work to complete a taxidermied elephant. Next, the two naturalists are seeking sanctuary with a traveling freak show. Already a taxidermy elephant and a circus freak show, and that's just the beginning!
Raybourn does a good job of weaving natural history into the dialogue and of balancing the respect and irritation Speedwell and Stoker feel for each other. This book solves one mystery, but we are left with many questions about Stoker's past. This book sets us up for many possible adventures to come. The next book in the series is called A Perilous Undertaking. A Curious Beginning is available also available as an ebook and in Large Print.
--Amanda, Part-time Library Assistant