All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

on January 19, 2017

a-perilous-undertakingA Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell #2)
Deanna Raybourn
Berkley Books
2017, 352p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

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….

I enjoy this series but I have to admit, it’s probably one where it’s best if you don’t think about it too much. There are some things that pull me out of the story when I’m reading but I just ignore it and keep going. It’s when I’ve finished that all those things kind of resurface and I find myself thinking about them.

There are pros and cons. The pros are that I just really love books set in this time period and I love the dynamic between Veronica and Stoker which gets more and more interesting. I do also enjoy that Veronica is the more forward one at times and that she can make Stoker blush and splutter a bit when she’s suggestive. The attraction between them still simmers but is complicated in this installment when Stoker says something during a rare intimate moment between them. Although it’s frustrating, as it drives them further away from anything truly satisfying happening between them, it also does make sense as there is still a lot of unexplored territory. There’s still a lot to be revealed about Stoker and a lot for him to deal with. I enjoy the intellectual conversations that Veronica and Stoker have and the fact that he’s quite happy for her to traipse around investigating things and doing things. Even though Stoker seems the more conventional of the two (raised in a titled family, etc) he’s still unconventional enough not to want to put Veronica into a box.

But then there are cons. And a big con is that Veronica’s voice can get, on occasion, well, a bit…..grating. I think so much is made of trying to portray her as different and fresh and modern that she comes across as preachy and irritating. Always banging on about her life experience and how she has these opinions on this or that or has done this or that and other people who don’t do such things are a bit dull. Sometimes her observations are amusing but other times they are quite know-it-all and a bit judgmental. She seems to make assumptions about people a lot. Veronica seems to have done pretty much everything there is to do. She’s travelled around the globe numerous times. She knows various languages, has had many lovers, has had a variety of crazy experiences on her adventures. But we don’t really learn much about these other than having her recite them in her head which makes them difficult to really well, believe. You have to wonder why she’s loafing around London looking into little mysteries with Stoker when she could be trekking through a jungle somewhere exotic or something. It’s not entirely believable that this position she has is that amazing, especially seeing as their benefactor has to postpone their planned expedition because he tripped over a tortoise (yes, really).

The mystery that they were investigating in this one was fine, there were a few twists and turns, a couple of things where you had to stretch your imagination but for the most part it was pretty interesting. It held my attention and I really found that I did want to find out what on earth had happened. I’m not sure how much of this series is going to revolve around members of Veronica’s ‘family’ (I use the term loosely, people who have read the first book will understand what I mean) but I am not sure it’s something that can keep going for very long. Various members popping up to secure her services because she’s had some knack solving a couple of things. It’s not the securing that’s unbelievable, it’s the fact that these people would seek her out, I think, for me. I hope Veronica’s world expands a little. I’d love a few books to be set during some of these adventures they’re apparently going to be going on!

I enjoyed this but I didn’t love it. At the moment I feel as though the next 1-2 books will be crucial in whether or not I begin to love it or the little things here end up becoming big things that bother me.


Book #7 of 2017

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