I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
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...
h, Veronica Speedwell, I am always so glad to get to spend time with you. And Revelstoke Templeton-Vane (Stoker) as well. Rarely are the two of them apart, until this book, where it looks like Tiberius Templeton-Vane may lure Veronica away from Stoker’s side. Or that Veronica and Stoker may bugger up their semi-comfortable relationship.
This is Deanna Raybourn channeling Victoria Holt’s Lord of the Far Island. Secret passages, boats that have holes packed with sugar (so you’ll be out on the sea when the sugar dissolves), dangerous currents (both on the ocean and at the tea table), and a wise old woman in the village to deliver ambiguous messages.
It was delightful, as Stoker manages to give Veronica a dose of her own medicine, drawing back from their attraction just as she is beginning to acknowledge it more fully. I am so looking forward to the next book, which quite simply cannot be published fast enough.
It is safe to say that I will read this series for as long as Ms. Raybourn is willing to produce them.