By Deanna Raybourn
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Series or Standalone: Veronica Speedwell #6
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
Veronica and Stoker are back for another adventure in the latest book in the Veronica Speedwell series! An Unexpected Peril was a delightful treat and really hit on all the features I love about this series from strong, unconventional female leads to an engaging murder mystery to impersonating royalty to a great romantic relationship. I truly loved every second of reading this and it might be one of my favorites in the series.
An Unexpected Peril is book 6 in the series and picks up a few months after the events of A Murderous Relation. Veronica and Stoker are planning an upcoming exhibit for pioneering mountaineer Alice Baker-Greene, who tragically died in a mountaineer accident – or so everyone thought. While pulling together the exhibit, Stoker and Veronica find evidence Alice’s death was likely murder and, much to Stokers dismay, Veronica insists they investigate to find out what happened to Alice. The patroness of the exhibit, Princess Gisela of Alpenwald (which for the sake of this book is a made up small country on the border between France and Germany), overhears Stoker and Veronica’s remarks on the potential murder of Alice, and next thing we know the princess has disappeared! Veronica, who bears a striking resemblance to the Gisela gets enlisted by the princess’s entourage to masquerade as the princess at official events, including a peace treaty signing at Windsor Castle, for the sake of the future peace of Europe.
Now, I have to tell you the plot sounded wild when I saw the synopsis originally, but I also knew I was going to love it – and boy did this book deliver! Literally, this might be one of the most fun adventures we’ve gone on with Veronica and Stoker. We have everything from a mountaineer murder to impersonating a princess – what is not to love! I feel like I literally didn’t know what to expect next during the story and had a few thoughts as to who the murderer was but was still surprised when it was revealed. I love that these books are never predictable in their mysteries and it takes time and effort to reveal the culprit.
When I saw Veronica was going to impersonate a princess I knew this was going to lead to some very interesting situations – particularly given her parentage. Since her parentage is a big spoiler, I’ll just say if you know who her father is, you’ll know why this is a big deal. I feel like we’ve been building and building to a meeting of Veronica and her father, and we almost got that in this book. I love how complex her feelings are towards him and his family – you can tell that as much as she says she has no desire to meet him, she deep down does and wants to be viewed as worthy of him. She wants a family and acceptance. Their run-in during this book was not the right time or place, but I do hope we’ll get that soon. It’s a conversation I’m dying to read.
I also loved seeing the progression in Stoker and Veronica’s relationship, though it did have me worried a few times as they definitely had some issues and conflict they needed to sort out. This is the first real book where they are a couple, and you could see there was some tension in the relationship – especially as Veronica is coming to terms with what it means to be in love with Stoker and what this means for her identity and freedom. As someone who never wants to be pinned down or confined, the idea of domesticity grates on Veronica and it definitely seems like part of her jumping into the mystery of Alice Baker-Greene is driven by this fear she doesn’t want to admit to herself. After the events of the last book where Stoker’s life was shot (again), he doesn’t want to rush head first into perilous situations. While I worried this would be a breaking point in their relationship and crush my soul, it ended up showing just how well suited Veronica and Stoker are for each other. He understood her fears before she even did and didn’t want to change her. As Stoker says, “I understand you, Veronica, because I am you.” I’ve never seen two characters so well-suited who are literally soulmates as I have with Veronica and Stoker.
I know I’m going to have to wait at least a year for the next installment in this series, but I am already counting down the days until that comes out. I cannot wait to see where Deanna Raybourn takes these characters next and what unexpected peril they’ll land themselves in next.