For those of you who have seen this blog before, you may know of my obsession with this series. I recently (too recently) posted my review of the last book, A Treacherous Curse, and before had reviewed the first book here. That being said, it took me a little while to process this book before reviewing it, because I admit to a certain amount of cognitive bias when it comes to this series. I love it so much as a whole, that sometimes it is hard to look at each book as its own piece of literature.
Deanna Raybourn’s A Dangerous Collaboration, the fourth book in the Veronica Speedwell series, is the book that devoted readers have been waiting for. After a long period of self-imposed separation from Stoker, Veronica decides to embark on a journey with Stoker’s brother Tiberius to his friend’s mansion on an island in Cornwall. The only catch – she must pose as his fiance. Not one to miss a party, Stoker comes along, and the three of them go to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party. Upon arrival, they realize that Lord Romilly has gathered everyone together that were present when his wife Rosamund disappeared, with the intent on finding out what happened once and for all.
With the native islanders’ belief in fairies, ghostly happenings, and shifting tides galore, Stoker and Veronica must discover what happened to Rosamund – before the island claims another soul for its own.
What I loved
- The Ambiance. Here is a spooky tale, almost gothic if it weren’t for Veronica’s quippy lines that cut through the fog literally surrounding this island. The haunted house/all suspects on deck trope can be overdone (this coming from someone who loves Agatha Christie novels), but this is Deanna Raybourn’s first foray, and she does it masterfully.
- The Dialogue. As always, the fun and witty repartee between Stoker and Veronica, and both of them with the other characters, continues. They are laugh out loud-able, and remind me of my husband and me. My favorite line:
“What in the name of seven hells do you mean you want to ‘borrow’ Miss Speedwell? She not an umbrella, for God’s sake.”
- The Relatability. Veronica’s character, while arguably more fickle and less assertive in this book, is almost more relatable than ever here. Sh both pushes away the one she loves, while at the same time craving his attentions and feeling hurt when the aloofness is reciprocated. While it is not her best look, I found it to be very relatable. Furthermore, the relationship between Stoker and Tiberius was a brutally accurate picture of brothers developing an adult relationship. I loved the evolution of Tiberius and Stoker’s brotherhood. There is fisticuffs, there is yelling, and in the end, you are left thinking they are better off.
- SPOILER: And last but not least, the Resolution. While it does not completely get sorted out, Stoker and Veronica finally (FINALLY!) admit to each other their true feelings, in the most drama-filled, action-packed way that would only work in this series.
“You think that is love, brother? That I should kill for her? You are a fool, brother, because you still do not understand. I do not love her enough to kill for her… I love her enough to die for her.”
What Was Not So Hot
- The Mystery. I found the mystery itself to be easy to figure out and pretty drawn-out. It felt more like a stick plodding the subplot along (which, frankly, the majority of readers care more about), than like what the reader should be focusing on.
- Veronica. While on the one hand I did find her more relatable, on the other hand, Veronica’s character can be alternatively annoying in this installation. Her conflicting emotions on wanting to be free and independent, but also wanting Stoker to the point of distraction, is explained ad nauseum. I empathized to an extent, but eventually got fed up with hearing it, especially when she also explained that Stoker was not the type of man that would impede her life.
Go get this book! Well, get the other ones in the series first, because this is not a series to read out of order. However if you already have read the others, go get this one now; it is hot off the presses! Four waves out of five just because it was not the strongest in the series, but this series as a whole is A+ worth reading. A worthy binge for your summer fun.