This is the first of a new series by Deanna Raybourn. Veronica Speedwell has been nursing her maiden aunt, but with her death orphaned Veronica is now free to resume her world travels in search of adventure and butterflies (she is a lepidopterist by trade, one of the few scientific trades open to an adventuress in the 1880s). She is also thoroughly modern, enjoying the company of foreign gentlemen when abroad from her native England. She has learned how to take care of herself. Yet her plan to embark on a world tour is foiled as she thwarts her own abduction and meets a secretive German baron who has information about her parents. He leaves her in the care of his friend Stoker, a bad-tempered natural historian with secrets of his own. Before the baron can share his information he is killed, and Stoker and Veronica are wanted for his murder. Can they find the real killer? And can they hide in a London gearing up for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Veronica is not a Victorian lady at all; she's had an unconventional upbringing (unschooling, anyone?) and she's made the most of it. I now want to read other books by Raybourn, and I will be following this series.