Wednesday, March 6, 2019

ARC Review: A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

A Dangerous Collaboration
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery (Book 4)
Publication: Berkley (March 12, 2019)

Description: A bride mysteriously disappears on her wedding day in the newest Veronica Speedwell adventure by the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey series.

Lured by the promise of a rare and elusive butterfly, the intrepid Veronica Speedwell is persuaded by Lord Templeton-Vane, the brother of her colleague Stoker, to pose as his fiancée at a house party on a Cornish isle owned by his oldest friend, Malcolm Romilly.

But Veronica soon learns that one question hangs over the party: What happened to Rosamund? Three years ago, Malcolm Romilly’s bride vanished on their wedding day, and no trace of her has ever been found. Now those who were closest to her have gathered, each a possible suspect in her disappearance.

From the poison garden kept by Malcolm’s sister to the high towers of the family castle, the island’s atmosphere is full of shadows, and danger lurks around every corner.

Determined to discover Rosamund’s fate, Veronica and Stoker match wits with a murderer who has already struck once and will not hesitate to kill again.…

My Thoughts: This is the fourth Veronica Speedwell mystery. Veronica and Stoker have been working as colleagues preparing exhibits for Lord Rosemorran's museum from the many collections his family has amassed. But this story story begins with Veronica taking Lady Cordelia and heading off to Madeira for six months. Veronica uses some of her time while she is gone thinking about her relationship with Stoker. She is happy with her friendship with him but doesn't know what happens next. She definitely doesn't want to marry, but believes she's falling in love with him and fearful that declaring it would ruin their friendship and collaboration.

After six months of not hearing from him, Veronica is back in London to a changed Stoker. There is a coldness to him that wasn't present before she left. Before she can do something to bring about a thaw, Lord Templeton-Vane, Stoker's eldest brother Tiberius, comes to Veronica with a proposal. He would like her to accompany him to the Cornish island which is the home of his eldest friend. He seduces her with promises of a rare butterfly that she can add to the vivarium she is creating for Lord Rosemorran. He also says that Stoker is not invited.

As they arrive, Tiberius indicates that he has told his old friend Malcolm Romilly that Veronica is his affianced wife telling her that it is because of Malcolm's religious beliefs. To no one's great surprise, Stoker is waiting for them as they disembark from the train having invited himself along.

When they arrive at the island, Stoker and Veronica discover a mystery. Three years earlier Malcolm's new bride disappears on her wedding day. No one has seen Rosamund since. Veronica is curious to know what happened to the missing bride and begins her investigation.

There are quite an assortment of suspects. From Malcolm's sister Mertensia who is a devoted gardener who takes special pride in her poison garden to Malcolm's brother's widow and son to the devoted housekeeper who raised them all to Lord Templeton-Vane himself, suspects abound and so do motives. And, while the investigation proceeds, Veronica is still dealing with her relationship with Stoker.

I loved the setting of this story - an isolated island steeped in history and the stories of mermaids and piskies and all manner of creature. I love Veronica's personality. She is a Victorian free spirit who doesn't care about her reputation and the social mores of the day. She is bright, abrasive, and particularly guarded in her emotions. Stoker is also a wonderful character and a perfect partner for her. I liked getting to know Tiberius better as we learn more about his past and the choices that have formed him.

This was a wonderful addition to an excellent series. I can't wait for more adventures.

Favorite Quote:
He fell silent a long moment, and I would have given a piece of my soul to have known his thoughts. My own were so disordered, I could not trust myself to speak. It was the smell of him, I thought idly. Whenever he was near, I detected leather and honey and something more— unplaceable but fresh and sharp like the wind off the sea.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Penguin's First to Read program. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful review:) I like the setting too and the mythical creatures. I need to try this series. Great quote too. Thanks for sharing it.


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