Review: A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

Posted March 14, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 12 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn
A Dangerous Collaboration

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
two-flames

Series: Veronica Speedwell #4
Genres: Historical Romance, Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley
Released on March 12, 2019
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Delight

At the close of the last book, things were left in an interesting place for Veronica and Stoker.  I was eager to proceed and see what came of them next as they faced another exciting murder adventure together while exchanging acrimonious quips.  A Dangerous Collaboration took them away from London to the atmospheric Cornish coast where they must solve a cold case mystery and perhaps discover something more.

Review

A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth Veronica Speedwell mystery, but it doesn’t make a good standalone or place to jump into the series.  There has been a long, sizzling slow burn relationship building through the books along with other series developments making sense only when got in order.

A Dangerous Collaboration jumps in a little over six months after the finish of A Treacherous Curse.  It is six months because Veronica pulled a panic when emotions happened and ran off with her ladyship to go hunt butterflies on Madeira.  Naturally, she would die before admitting as much and she is in desperate straights when she returns knowing that she hasn’t purged Stoker from her system or found her mojo to go back to her butterfly hunts like what was supposed to result from the trip.  Life is decidedly flat particularly when her absence doesn’t spark even one letter from the person she desires to forget.  In fact, she knows she has no right to feel hurt when it was her choice and when she comes back and he treats her the same as he did before, but seeing right through her like he always had.
Fortunately, Stoker’s brother saves her with the dangling of a new mystery in the form of an old disappearance case involving his friend and the possibility of a new butterfly for her collection out on the Cornish coast so long as she poses as his fiance.  Stoker wasn’t invited, but he tags along as well for the houseparty in an atmospheric castle on the remote Cornish island with the Romilly family.  Malcolm Romilly is determined to discover once and for all what happened to his disappearing bride the day they married.

I always anticipate each new release of this series for this pairing who drive me nuts and pull me in, all the same.  But, I let myself believe things were a certain way between this pair at the end of the last book and this book snatched that away in the first pages and I had to reset and change my expectations.  As a result, I will probably be going the unpopular opinion route for a good portion of this review.  No worries, if you had a different experience when reading it.

Veronica and Stoker have been in denial since day one.  I remember saying in my review of the first book that she is terrified of commitments, relationships, and, most of all abandonment and rightly so, but hides it behind her independent, highly intellectual, equal in all ways including sexually, outrageous persona.  I call it a persona because it is something she has deliberately cultivated like her own version of armor.  Until Veronica met Stoker, this was adequate, but over the course of these books she has slowly, bit by bit had it proven to her that all that is a brittle and hollow thing, but she is too scared to try for more and then when she slips in the last book and cops to feelings, she runs in fear.

I bothered to say all that because I really thought Veronica had made it through the last hurdle by the end of the last book and this would be the start of them trying to build something deeper.  She’s a fierce, brilliant woman who will never be like the typical women of her day- Stoker never once expects her to nor does he ever disparage her mind or anything else.  He likes her as is and treats her as a partner and equal.  She knows all this on one level and revels in it, but then that sticky fear from the past takes over and she is right back where she started pretending she is an island and doesn’t want love or marriage or wanting a man for more than a night.

In this one, I skimmed and drifted through a book I felt dragged after the opening pages until around the fifty percent point when the suspense plot really kicked in and big things were happening.  It’s not that I minded the long set up of the situation or what was happening among the larger cast of characters, but with the focus, stronger than ever, on Veronica and Stoker while they churned up the same patch of earth with each other…sigh.   I couldn’t even get into the atmospheric setting and gothic overtones (that were great by the way) without being distracted.

Let’s just say, I’d had enough.  At this point, she’s a tease and an emotional coward.  Harsh, yes, but with Veronica, it’s always Stoker being juvenile with his brother or Stoker being ridiculous and sentimental because God forbid a person have feelings for you or feelings about his brother cutting in and Veronica letting him.  She knows what his wife did to him in the past and that his family was torn since he was a child and he’s just now tentatively starting things with his brother.  But hey, let’s rile the guy up emotionally and pull back and then play coy while involving the brother.  On purpose or not, she did it.  I was honestly to the point where I wanted Stoker to back away and leave her with his brother.  Yep, I was just that exasperated, but then I held in there for that precious solid gold moment when Stoker shines with a heroic inferno that burned away all the petty shirking she was doing.  That scene was almost worth putting up with everything before it.

The mystery was a gothic style and that was the bright and shining bit.  Even while the romance end was driving me batty, seeing them in action as a detecting pair, sparring and being witty while getting to the bottom of matters, I was as dazzled and thrilled as always.  This is where this pair has always shone for me.  I actually had my finger on the right answer, but then thought that I was wrong when the second disappearance happened.  Loved the setting of foggy, isolated Cornish island shrouded in legend and lore with a castle full of hidden passages, a possible ghost, a definite disappearance and a house full of suspects.

Now, I did yammer on for some time about something that got my dander up and it probably seems I didn’t like this book.  But in truth, aside from my wild hare about that relationship, everything else was stellar.  And, I would even go so far as to say that many people will have more patience and generosity than I did and not mind so much what got to me.  This was a solid historical romantic suspense in a shining, witty series that I can recommend to those who enjoy the genre and strong willed characters.

I rec’d this book via Net Galley from Berkley to read in exchange of an honest review.

Challenges Met

New Release #26
Literary Pickers #58 steam train

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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NadeneKimberly @ Caffeinated ReviewerSophia RoseCarole raeDebbie Haupt Recent comment authors
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Anne - Books of My Heart
Guest

Well everyone I know is reading this book. Excellent review. It’s great to get a differing opinion. I will say others are enjoying the narration on the audio version and audio is the route I will go when I get going on this one.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yeah, I’m waiting for the rotten tomatoes to fly because I came out of this one with a different feel than most got from what I saw in reviews.
I got to listen to book two and remember enjoying the narrator. Hope you love it.

Melliane
Guest

I only read book 1 but I need to continue one day

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh yes, there are some good mysteries and lots of good banter that is not to be missed. 🙂

Debbie Haupt
Guest

Wow I was surprised by the 3.5 when I saw Kim give it much higher but I can understand your reasonings too. Great review, this series is on my wish list

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh man, I am so not in the popular end of the pool. I love this pair so very much and I thought with the reveals that came out in the last book that Veronica had been able to push through and settle in. I think I could have forgave the runner she pulled, but then I just got tired of their sniping occupying much of the first half of the book that was caused mostly by her decisions. It felt juvenile and didn’t advance things. But, as you saw, others were not as annoyed by it though I think… Read more »

Carole rae
Guest

Oh no…I’m not sure if this is the one for me.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Maybe give book one a try. This is book four and I was ready for the relationship side to get a boot up the butt, but you might have more patience with them when you get to this point. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
Guest

I feel your frustration and found it refreshing to see how you felt.

Sophia Rose
Guest

I really, really like your lock them in a closet idea. 😉

Nadene
Guest

Hmm, I can understand why you felt the way you did. I would probably be frustrated as well.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Thanks. I know that many have more patience than I do, but by the fourth book and after the events of book three… plus, it struck me as juvenile, more than anything. Still love the pair and the series. 🙂