All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

on March 23, 2020

A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell #4)
Deanna Raybourn
Berkley Books/Penguin Random House
2019, 323p
Read from my local library

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée—much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband’s mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker’s help to discover the host’s true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund…

It’s been a while since I read one of these – I missed this one being released and only noticed when the 5th book came out this month. I requested this through my local library and it came in just before the library closed down due to coronavirus concerns. I’m mixing up review books with library books and TBR books this month and next so I plucked it from the pile because I haven’t read a historical that wasn’t set around a World War in what feels like forever. I wasn’t too sure about the last book (things were starting to bother me with Veronica and Stoker) but I was wanting to see if progress was going to come anytime soon. Or was I going to be doomed to reading a sexual tension that never went anywhere because both of them were too proud to act on it and too independent to let a single thing disrupt their scientific lives.

This book takes a bit to get going – it’s around 100p before it really starts to get into the point of why Stoker’s brother (the tedious Tiberius) invited Veronica to an island off the coast of Cornwall under the pretence of his old school friend gifting her some larvae of a rare species of butterfly. Because the friend is a strict Catholic, Veronica and Tiberius must pretend to be engaged, for the sake of propriety by which…..meh. Usually I’m really good for a fauxmance, but only when it’s between the actual people I want to end up together. Tiberius is a pain in the posterior, because he’s the elder son, rich, arrogant, self-indulgent, untrustworthy and manipulative and titled now but this book seeks to (I think?) humanise him in some way but it falls pretty flat because he spends most of the book being incredibly annoying and just getting in the way. I don’t enjoy him as a character but I suspect that he’ll probably be back, unfortunately.

This book opens with Veronica taking off to Madeira for six months after what she and Stoker -almost- said in the previous book. However we don’t know anything about that trip other than who she went with and the fact that both of them apparently required significant medical attention at some stage during the trip. During this time, Stoker did not write to Veronica (she told him not to) but when she returns, she’s somewhat put out by this and the two of them are overly polite with each other, both of them seemingly making some sort of decision that above all, their friendship is the most important thing, not perhaps what lies beyond that, and that’s what they should preserve, no matter what the cost of ignoring everything else is. They each seem to be playing a game – sometimes it’s the same game, but other times it is not and sometimes it works and sometimes I want to grab the pair of them and bang their stubborn rock heads together really, really hard. Also Veronica is really shit at pretending to be someone’s fiancé and it’s a massive miracle that the guy that they are supposed to be pretending to doesn’t figure it out in about three and a half minutes. Pretty much everyone else does. I suppose it doesn’t help that Stoker invites himself along and Veronica spends far more time with him than she does her own ‘fiancé’.

This one was just going okay for me – it wasn’t the best of the mysteries of this series and I was ready to give it an average rating….but it gets rounded up a bit because of what happens at the end. I don’t want to get into it too much but the way in which it occurs is why I have loved Deanna Raybourn books so much and why I keep reading them because it is these moments in various books that keep me coming back for more.

Well, now I have to read the next one.


Book #46 of 2020



One response to “Review: A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

  1. Marg says:

    I haven’t read any of this series!

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