October 14, 2015

Short 'n Sweet Reviews: Victorian Women: Amelia Peabody v. Veronica Speedwell

Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1) by Elizabeth Peters
I really enjoyed Amelia's decidedly anti-Victorian views, and her snark was, of course, exactly like I like my protagonists. I liked the play between her and Emerson, as well as between her and Evelyn. While the outcome was predictable for both the mystery and Amelia herself and the pace was a little slow, the ride was still enjoyable. I would not mind reading the next books in the series.

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn
I loved this Victorian-cum-feminist novel about Veronica Speedwell and the chaos that ensues after she puts a notice in the newspaper about her aunt's death.  Veronica is a lepidopterist and orphan who finds out from a friend of her mother's that her life is in danger.  Stoker is an ill-mannered naturalist & taxidermist who is put in charge of Veronica's safety by the friend, the baron, who himself winds up in danger. The relationship between Veronica and Stoker is very reminiscent of that between Amelia and Emerson in the Amelia Peabody book above - the debates, the stubbornness, the sexual tension, the intelligence.  However, I think I might prefer Veronica and Stoker to Amelia and Emerson.  This may be because the writing is more modern and fast paced, it may be because the characters in Raybourn's novel are more layered than in Peters' book.  All I know is I am eagerly awaiting the second book in this series! 

SO if I could only read either the next in the Amelia Peabody series or the next in the Veronica Speedwell series, hands down I would choose Veronica Speedwell.  It was not nearly as predictable (even in the play between her and Stoker) and the writing and pace were preferable to me.   

Have you read either of these books?  What are your thoughts?

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