The Dead Travel Fast
By Deanna Raybourn
Theodora Lestrange is a woman alone but she’s not unhappy with her status. She intends to pursue her writing and hopes to make a living at it. For a woman in 1858, it’s an admirable but tough choice to make. Unfortunately, her brother-in-law doesn’t consider this normal and feels that something should be done. When Theodora receives a letter from an old friend asking her to come and visit her in Transylvania, she decides that it’s the change she needs and takes off for the strange land. Once there, she finds herself in an old, drafty castle with a Count and Countess, wolves, rumors of the dead returning, and a death in the castle. Theodora finds herself drawn into the world these people inhabit and dares to fall in love with the Count.
I haven’t read anything by Raybourn and have heard that it would be best to start with the Lady Julia Grey series. I ignored that and went right for this one, mostly because that’s what my library had. I can’t say it was better or worse than any of the others not having read them, but I found this one to be a good distraction of a read. Theodora was interesting in that she’s not the typical woman of the time. She’s outspoken, has a career, and has no interest in marriage or children. I did find it odd that she was a writer that didn’t seem to write much though. It’s mentioned here and there that she spent a morning or afternoon writing but it doesn’t feel part of the character. In the end, there is a book but it feels tacked on a bit as if it was meant to remind you all along that she was a writer. While there is talk of vampires and werewolves, the folk tales and rumors don’t feel fully developed and the love story, which feels like it should be a much larger piece, feels a little stifled. Also, the character of Theodora had a small but annoying habit of saying, “I warmed to my theme…” when she was arguing, disagreeing, or trying to prove a point. She may have been warmed, but I felt annoyed by it. Not sure why it bothered me so much but it did.
I don’t want this to turn into a negative review because it’s not. I flew through this book in a day so I can’t say that I didn’t like it. There were several aspects though that didn’t feel fully put together though. I do think I will seek out a few of her other books and give them a try when I have a chance. There was something that made this compulsively readable and I want to see what else she has to offer.