Sunday, June 19, 2022

Review: An Impossible Impostor by Deanna Raybourn

by Deanna Raybourn
Release Date: February 15, 2022
2022 Berkley Books
Kindle Edition; 325 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593197295
Audiobook: B097CD2SH4
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Historical
Source: Review copy from publisher

4.25 / 5 Stars

London, 1889. Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian beau Stoker are summoned by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of Special Branch. He has a personal request on behalf of his goddaughter, Euphemia Hathaway. After years of traveling the world, her eldest brother, Jonathan, heir to Hathaway Hall, was believed to have been killed in the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa a few years before.

Veronica and Stoker agree to go to Hathaway Hall to covertly investigate the mysterious amnesiac. Veronica is soon shocked to find herself face-to-face with a ghost from her past. To help Sir Hugo discover the truth, she must open doors to her own history that she long believed to be shut for good.
My Thoughts
An Impossible Impostor is the next entry in the Veronica Speedwell books, and I have to say, I was quite happy to say it was an improvement from the previous two instalments in this series. Maybe it had something to do with the setting as I tend to be a sucker for anything that has a Gothic feel to it, and this definitely had that in spades for the first half of the novel, but I also liked the tension between the two main characters as they navigated some interesting information from Veronica's past that was revealed.
First of all, I hadn't been a fan of Veronica's character development in several of the previous books as someone with her character would be chaffing at domesticity and longing for more opportunities to explore, despite her relationship with Stoker.  What I really liked about this book was the exploration of Veronica's feelings as she examined her relationship with Stoker and what that could possibly entail for her future.  And I enjoyed every little nuance, every moment of resistance she had as I felt that was truer to her character.  And when this big twist happened, which actually caught me off guard, I loved it as I thought, great, more complications for a relationship that should have some type of fire to it as their lives were so complicated.   Naturally, it did have a too-pat ending for my liking as I think it would have been fun to see that complication explored a bit more in future books, but you can't have everything. But exploring Veronica's past was a good move on the author's past as I do think it really added to her character development, rounded her out a lot more, added depth to her character.

I did feel like the author sort of neglected Stoker in this story, made him seem...petulant, it's the only word I can think of.  Although I did learn a lot about some creature called a thylacine?, the whole thing between Veronica and Stoker did feel forced, at times, and I wish the author had fleshed out their issues a bit more as their banter and dialogue is often fun to read, and you see how they appreciate each other's quirks, and that would have been a great way to add some depth to their relationship.  However, in the end, I enjoy these two together and readers know these two are meant to be together.
The mystery is a bit slow, but I appreciated the setting, the drama, and the set-up, and the author didn't lose sight of the mystery in the midst of a secondary drama between Stoker and Veronica, which was nice.  It did get a bit more complicated than I was expecting, but it was fun, and although I did think the ending was a bit pat, I enjoyed it.  
An Impossible Impostor was a lot of fun, and finally, we get to learn a bit more about Veronica's past.  I thought the character development was really good and although I thought Stoker was more of a secondary character as the events focused on Veronica and how she handled the big reveal, it all worked out in the end.  This book brought back the magic of the first few books, and I am happy to recommend this to anybody who is a Veronica Speedwell fan.  If you are new to the series, while this could be read as a standalone, I don't recommend it as you will miss important information about the main characters and their relationship development.