Friday, January 13, 2017

A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell #2), by Deanna Raybourn

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780451476159, January 2017

Veronica Speedwell and Revelstoke Templeton-Vane (known to his friends as Stoker) have settled into a comfortable partnership, cataloging a nobleman's natural history collection while planning a new expedition. Those plans start to get derailed when Veronica is invited to tea at the Curiosity Club, a club for ladies with intellectual and artistic interests. She's there to meet a Lady Sundridge, of whom she has never heard.

Figuring out who Lady Sundridge really is, is her first challenge.

Her next challenge is the one Lady Sundridge sets her: proving the innocence of a man sentenced to hang for murder in just one week.

Both Veronica and Stoker's personal characters and their relationship continue to develop in interesting and involving ways. We and Veronica learn more about Stoker's personal history and his relationship with his family. Veronica continues to learn more about her own character, and to grow and develop in her understanding of how her past has affected her. Raybourn does a fine job of showing Veronica's self-examination, both its discomforts and the way she sometimes dodges it. The more this process proceeds, the more confidently she deals with parts of her own past--and the more basis she has for understanding Stoker's problems with his past. All in all, it's some fine character development.

Veronica and Stoker's adventures are on the fantastic side, but this is an ear when educated and relatively well-off women who were prepared to defy convention could have quite daring careers. This book and its predecessor, A Curious Beginning, are both entertaining and engaging reads.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.