First I want to wish all my friends in the States a Happy Labor Day. This is a day to acknowledge all that people do in jobs ranging from the most menial to the most celebrated. I have always thought most highly of the folks that do the work that some people think they are above, like waiting tables, cleaning hotel rooms, and mopping school floors. My father always said it doesn’t matter what job you do, just do it well and take pride in the end result.
Okay, I wasn’t going to start the blog today with a rant, but I can’t keep quiet. Over the weekend a Las Vegas police officer was shot in what authorities are calling an ambush-style shooting. Two officers were leaving the scene of a disturbance call at a store when an individual walked up to their patrol car while it was stopped at a traffic light and fired three shots, striking one of the officers in the hand. The officer’s name had not been released late Sunday when I read the news item.
Unfortunately, this is the second shooting in the previous three days, as another officer was shot in the leg on Friday.
A friend posted the news item on Facebook, and I just wanted to scream. When is the insanity going to stop. Come on people. This is not the answer to whatever injustice you feel you have suffered.
The strong woman I want to celebrate today is a fictional character, Veronica Speedwell, from the mystery A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn.
Short Synopsis: London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.
But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.
Review: While you have to suspend your disbelief a bit to buy into everything that happens in the story, I dare any reader to not cheer for Veronica as she wends her way through the maze of this mystery. It helps to connect with the central character right away and I did in the opening pages of the book when she is burying her Aunt Nell. Veronica describes the graveyard as “… a garden of the dead, the inhabitants planted to slumber peacefully until they were called to rise by the trumpet of the Lord. Or so the vicar promised them. It seemed a singularly messy undertaking to me. To begin with, wouldn’t the newly risen be frightfully loamy?”
Veronica is resourceful, unconventional, and possessing a sharp sense of humor, traits which are not always lauded in women of that era. She is matched well with Stoker who appreciates those qualities and becomes her ally and champion.
This is the first book in a new series by Ms. Raybourn, and also the first book of hers that I have read, but I will read the next one. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and consider Veronica a good example of what a strong, self-actualized woman can be.
That’s all for me. Hope everyone enjoys the holiday today. What are your plans?