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A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all. With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh--and a disappointed suitor--far behind. She is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true ind A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all. With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh--and a disappointed suitor--far behind. She is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independence. She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathians, replete with eccentric inhabitants: the ailing dowager; the troubled steward; her own fearful friend, Cosmina. But all are outstripped in dark glamour by the castle's master, Count Andrei Dragulescu. Bewildering and bewitching in equal measure, the brooding nobleman ignites Theodora's imagination and awakens passions in her that she can neither deny nor conceal. His allure is superlative, his dominion over the superstitious town, absolute--Theodora may simply be one more person under his sway. Before her sojourn is ended--or her novel completed--Theodora will have encountered things as strange and terrible as they are seductive. For obsession can prove fatal...and she is in danger of falling prey to more than desire.


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A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all. With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh--and a disappointed suitor--far behind. She is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true ind A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all. With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh--and a disappointed suitor--far behind. She is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independence. She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathians, replete with eccentric inhabitants: the ailing dowager; the troubled steward; her own fearful friend, Cosmina. But all are outstripped in dark glamour by the castle's master, Count Andrei Dragulescu. Bewildering and bewitching in equal measure, the brooding nobleman ignites Theodora's imagination and awakens passions in her that she can neither deny nor conceal. His allure is superlative, his dominion over the superstitious town, absolute--Theodora may simply be one more person under his sway. Before her sojourn is ended--or her novel completed--Theodora will have encountered things as strange and terrible as they are seductive. For obsession can prove fatal...and she is in danger of falling prey to more than desire.

30 review for The Dead Travel Fast

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hill

    Can we PLEASE go back to the original cover style for her books so I'm not embarrassed to buy them?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    Not quite 3 stars, but rounding up for the gothic atmosphere. This is an homage to Dracula and Northanger Abbey, and I think anyone who enjoyed both of those books would enjoy this one as well. It started out as quite an enjoyable read, but then it lost me somewhere along the way inside the creepy castle and the vampire mystery that just wouldn't end. Also, am not a fan of vampires or sweeping Victorian romances. However, I am a big fan of creepy castles, chilling folklore, and cold desolate Not quite 3 stars, but rounding up for the gothic atmosphere. This is an homage to Dracula and Northanger Abbey, and I think anyone who enjoyed both of those books would enjoy this one as well. It started out as quite an enjoyable read, but then it lost me somewhere along the way inside the creepy castle and the vampire mystery that just wouldn't end. Also, am not a fan of vampires or sweeping Victorian romances. However, I am a big fan of creepy castles, chilling folklore, and cold desolate settings. So the highs and the lows kind of evened out. I really like the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn, especially the latest one, A Dangerous Collaboration, with its gothic tone and gloomy mystery. So I was in the mood for a similar book. The Dead Travel Fast wasn't quite what I was looking for, but it was interesting enough to pass the time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Konstantin

    Enjoyable enough, I guess, but it could have been so much more atmospheric and just better overall if more work had been put into it. A wasted premise, imho.

  4. 4 out of 5

    MB (What she read)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Frankly I was kind of disappointed in this. It was well-written and nicely atmospheric, but I never really liked either of the main characters and found the plot unconvincing. I found her weirdly modern in outlook, and him...? All my least favorite alpha traits embodied. Other than his supposed cuteness/hotness/money/position I couldn't see why any woman would find him a catch. Controlling? Vaguely abusive? Selfish? Opium addict? My reaction: YUCK! It was weirdly reminiscent of Jane Eyre to me, w Frankly I was kind of disappointed in this. It was well-written and nicely atmospheric, but I never really liked either of the main characters and found the plot unconvincing. I found her weirdly modern in outlook, and him...? All my least favorite alpha traits embodied. Other than his supposed cuteness/hotness/money/position I couldn't see why any woman would find him a catch. Controlling? Vaguely abusive? Selfish? Opium addict? My reaction: YUCK! It was weirdly reminiscent of Jane Eyre to me, with lots of victorian dialogue. The 'gothicness' of it felt like victorian and modern sensibilities were fighting together, I kept being pulled out of the story. But she is a good writer, and it could have been done much worse, by a lesser author. That's why I gave it 3 stars. I think it would work better for many readers than it did for me. (I have oddball reactions and often dislike books everyone else seems to love, so don't let me talk you out of it.) I liked the 'Silent' series much better and am looking forward to the new one coming out.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    For the last couple of weeks I've been obsessively checking my local bookstore's stock online to see if Deanna Raybourn's THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST just happened to get in early. Yes, I actually am that nerdy and it's much too late to do anything about it. But, in this case, the effort paid off as a nice, healthy stack of them awaited me on the "New Fiction" table when I dashed in from the rain on my way home from work. As you know, I am a devoted Lady Julia Grey fan. I adore that series and am anxio For the last couple of weeks I've been obsessively checking my local bookstore's stock online to see if Deanna Raybourn's THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST just happened to get in early. Yes, I actually am that nerdy and it's much too late to do anything about it. But, in this case, the effort paid off as a nice, healthy stack of them awaited me on the "New Fiction" table when I dashed in from the rain on my way home from work. As you know, I am a devoted Lady Julia Grey fan. I adore that series and am anxiously awaiting the upcoming fourth installment--Dark Road to Darjeeling--due out this October. But when I heard she was working on a standalone historical set in Transylvania and featuring a would-be lady novelist and a mysterious count...well...I was equal parts intrigued and excited. Who knew what delights and promises it would hold? Miss Theodora LeStrange has come to the end of her rope. When her grandfather and guardian passes away, her well-meaning if rather insipid brother-in-law takes it upon himself to determine what exactly is to be done with her. Terrified of what he will come up with, Theodora grasps at the nearest straw in the form of a letter from her old school friend Cosmina who now resides at Castle Dragulescu in Transylvania. She invites Theodora to come and stay in celebration of her approaching nuptials. A budding novelist, Theodora convinces her friend and publisher Charles Beecroft the experience will serve to inspire her imagination and fuel the novel she knows is lurking inside just waiting to be brought forth. Against their better judgement, her family and friends let her go and the adventure of a lifetime begins. Upon arrival Theodora is reunited with Cosmina and introduced to the aging Countess and her mysterious son--the newly appointed Count. In a land where the sinister is a daily occurrence and the horrifying merely commonplace, Theodora's imagination is more than stimulated. It is driven into overdrive as her Scottish pragmatism wars with the inexplicable and increasingly nightmarish events unfolding in this small Roumanian village at the edge of the world. This was such an interesting read. It was at times exactly and not at all what I expected and my response to it evolved as the pages turned. I liked Theodora from the beginning. She is much more pragmatic, yet somehow less sure of herself than Julia Grey and I wondered how she would handle the--what seemed to me--clearly supernatural events at Castle Dragulescu. But just when you (and she) think you have the story and Count Andrei figured out, the narrative takes a meditative turn and you find yourself not at all sure. Perhaps it is merely smoke and mirrors and can all be explained away by an ancient grudge, a marital infidelity, or a genetic predisposition. And so the tale winds on, weaving back and forth between the mundane and the spectacular, never revealing its secrets. At first I was impatient to discover the truth, but it was when I gave myself up to the story that I enjoyed Deanna Raybourn's wonderfully gifted way with words. I was amazed at how seamless the writing and the dialogue were. Initially I wanted to like Andrei as much as I do Brisbane, but he is an entirely different breed of alpha male and not nearly as instantly likable. But he isn't meant to be, I don't think. Much more Rochester than Thornton from the word go. And once again, it was when I sat back and let it wash over me that I really was able to appreciate this novel for what it is--a pitch-perfect Victorian Gothic romance. And the ending was perfect. What a talent for endings Ms. Raybourn has and how much I look forward to each of her books--whatever style or genre they may be. A Note: For Lady Julia Grey aficionados, there is a delightful little reference to that series hidden in THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST. It left a happily satisfied smile on my face. See if you can spot it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    G.

    2.5/5 I'm a huge fan of Deanna Raybourn's ongoing Veronica Speedwell series. I enjoyed her other stuff - that I've read - for the most part. This one, sadly, didn't quite get there. But what could possibly happen to me in Transylvania? The Dead Travel Fast is one of Deanna Raybourn's standalones. It's the story of Theodora Lestrange, a young writer, who travels to Transylvania to visit a school friend and ends up having a bit more of an adventure than she bargained for. The time is the Victorian a 2.5/5 I'm a huge fan of Deanna Raybourn's ongoing Veronica Speedwell series. I enjoyed her other stuff - that I've read - for the most part. This one, sadly, didn't quite get there. But what could possibly happen to me in Transylvania? The Dead Travel Fast is one of Deanna Raybourn's standalones. It's the story of Theodora Lestrange, a young writer, who travels to Transylvania to visit a school friend and ends up having a bit more of an adventure than she bargained for. The time is the Victorian age. There's death. There's mystery. There's romance. All of the components that are recognisably Deanna Raybourn. That said, The Dead Travel Fast just lacks that something extra to make it compelling. It's an okay read with some moments that rise above that, but it's definitely not her best work.

  7. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    First Sentence: All proper stories begin with the words Once upon a time…. Theodroa Lastrange travels to a castle in the Carpathian Mountains at the invitation of her school-days friend, Cosmina. There she finds an old castle, an aristocratic family, and a count to whom she is inexplicably and inexorably attracted. She also finds superstition and dark tales of werewolves and be involved in the destruction of an alleged vampire. My feelings, about this book, changed almost page to page and my ratin First Sentence: All proper stories begin with the words Once upon a time…. Theodroa Lastrange travels to a castle in the Carpathian Mountains at the invitation of her school-days friend, Cosmina. There she finds an old castle, an aristocratic family, and a count to whom she is inexplicably and inexorably attracted. She also finds superstition and dark tales of werewolves and be involved in the destruction of an alleged vampire. My feelings, about this book, changed almost page to page and my rating oscillated from “Good” to “Not Recommended.” My problem wasn’t that this was very different from the Lady Jane Grey series; I was prepared for this to be completely different. I like gothic. When done well, it can be wonderful. When done badly, it crosses over into being melodramatic. For much of this book, I found the latter to be true. My problem was the writing itself. Parts of the story are very good; wonderfully written, touching, emotionally and thoroughly engrossing. However, in other parts of the story, I found myself rolling my eyes and wondering what Ms. Raybourn had been thinking. It is difficult when you read first for character, and the only character you really feel any affinity for is a secondary character, Charles. I truly disliked that the protagonist was named Theodora Lastrange; how cliché can one possibly be. It may be a small thing, but was so trite; it nearly caused me to stop reading immediately. Than rather than Ms. Lastrange being gutsy and independent, there was a wimpishness about her, particularly in her attraction to the Count. Even with my issues with the characters, it was the plot which let me down. The plot was rife with anachronisms, clichés and coincidences. However, on the plus side, there were some scenes that were very well done, I personally like the inclusion of references to and the poetry of Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal being a particular favorite of mine, and I particularly appreciate her explanation for some of the “supernatural’ events. All this being said, it wasn’t a terrible book. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good book either. Having read Ms. Raybourn’s other books, I believe much of my disappointment comes from knowing she is a much better writer than this would indicate. THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST (Gothic/Susp-Theodora Lastrange-Transylvania-Victorian/1858) – Okay Raybourn, Deanna – Standalone Mira, 2010, Trade paperback – ISBN: 9780778327653

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    This was a truly perfect book. It had all of my favorite elements of a neo-Victorian Gothic--the impoverished gentlewoman seeking to make her way in life; the mysterious, sensual young count that catches her eye; mysterious deaths; superstitious locals; and a fraught relationship to the past. Theodora is an orphan, and her grandfather has recently died as well. When her schoolfriend, Cosima, invites her to Transylvania to be a guest at Cosima's wedding to the local count, Theodora views it as a h This was a truly perfect book. It had all of my favorite elements of a neo-Victorian Gothic--the impoverished gentlewoman seeking to make her way in life; the mysterious, sensual young count that catches her eye; mysterious deaths; superstitious locals; and a fraught relationship to the past. Theodora is an orphan, and her grandfather has recently died as well. When her schoolfriend, Cosima, invites her to Transylvania to be a guest at Cosima's wedding to the local count, Theodora views it as a handy escape. She's a writer, and she knows from Cosima's childhood stories that Transylvania will provide fertile ground for her imagination. Also, she'd rather not live with her sister and brother-in-law, who are expecting their fifth child. Upon her arrival at the castle, Theodora is thrilled with the magnificent setting, and her writing takes off. She is troubled that Cosima's wedding has been called off, and Theodora is even more disturbed when she realizes just how attracted she is to the count. In true Gothic fashion, secrets from the past continue to haunt the present. Was the current count's father so evil that he rose from the grave as strigoi? Why did the count's father and grandfather hate each other so deeply? What secrets of love and passion will drive these characters to commit desperate acts? Raybourn has a fantastic narrative voice, and her ear for dialogue is top-notch. Unlike so many neo-Victorian romances, her characters speak naturally, with only small differences from our modern speech. Clearly, Raybourn has read many Victorian novels in order to master the language so thoroughly. This book was a joy to read, and I would have loved to read it slowly and savor it, but I was too engrossed and had to know what happened next.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Misfit

    A twist on the old Dracula legends? Or is there something else going on here? Theodora Lestrange's childhood school mate Cosmina is set to marry a distant cousin, Count Andrei Dragulescu, at his castle high in the Carpathian Mountains. Theodora is soon swept up into a web of intrigue and mystery over Andrei's dead father (do the dead walk at night?), a local villager who disappears into the forest to howl at the full moon (or does he?), a maid found dead with the marks of a vampire's fangs (or i A twist on the old Dracula legends? Or is there something else going on here? Theodora Lestrange's childhood school mate Cosmina is set to marry a distant cousin, Count Andrei Dragulescu, at his castle high in the Carpathian Mountains. Theodora is soon swept up into a web of intrigue and mystery over Andrei's dead father (do the dead walk at night?), a local villager who disappears into the forest to howl at the full moon (or does he?), a maid found dead with the marks of a vampire's fangs (or is it something else?) and more. Of course the ever so sensuous Count has no interest in his betrothed but can't keep his hands and lips off our heroine. Will she succumb to his charms? And if she does, will those be kisses she receives or something more sinister? Is he one of the Strigoi or is it all smoke and mirrors? Well you know I'm not telling. This was a light, easy-breezy read with plenty of creepy moments that kept me guessing at the mystery until almost the last pages. Theodora was just spunky and intelligent enough without going OTT in modern behavior and as for Andrei? I wouldn't mind having one of him for my own. I have to admit to being one of the few people left on the planet who haven't yet read Raybourn's other books, so I don't have those books to compare to as other reviewers have done. Three stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    I was so focused on the fact that Deanna Raybourn had a new book coming out that I somehow failed to find out what the book was about until I was standing in the check out line at the bookstore. And even reading the back cover I still didn't know what I was in for. Really there should be vampire warnings somewhere so that you know what you're getting yourself into with books these days. The back cover does say our heroine is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered... and t I was so focused on the fact that Deanna Raybourn had a new book coming out that I somehow failed to find out what the book was about until I was standing in the check out line at the bookstore. And even reading the back cover I still didn't know what I was in for. Really there should be vampire warnings somewhere so that you know what you're getting yourself into with books these days. The back cover does say our heroine is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered... and the castle's master is Count Andrei Dragulescu. I am the first one to tell you I like things spelled out for me...perhaps it's because I am often completely obtuse. As it seems was the case with this book, I had no idea until I was a hundred or more pages into it that it was a vampire story. Once that major detail was discovered I found myself wanting to run back to the book store with my receipt in hand and ask for a refund. But I didn't, I finished the book and on the whole, it was okay. I'm a little sad that the wonderfully talented Ms. Raybourn has turned her hand to things vampirian, it seems somehow faddish to me. But those of you who loved Twilight will likely love this as well. This novel felt very much like a Romance novel and the murder mystery didn't feel very well developed. The characters seemed rather stereotypical and the attraction between our heroine and the Count seemed based almost entirely on the physical. Overall this novel pales in comparison to the characters and story lines the author created for her Lady Julia series. And yet I would not be at all surprised if this novel took off in popularity and had better sales than her first series. I say that only because of the popularity of romance novels and the current interest in all things vampire. Personally I will be happy to read the next Lady Julia book and count this as the first and last vampire book I'll read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Something you should know about me: I judge. When I read the author's bio (which I always do), I look at the photos. And I judge. I decide whether or not I could be friends with the writer, based on how they look in their photo. Deanna Raybourn and I would not be friends. She looks a tad airbrushed, and she's wearing a bad '80s sort of Twilight-meets-Mr. Rochester's Wife get-up that annoys me. She's from Texas, which makes me wonder if her little costume speaks for how she thinks writers of gothic Something you should know about me: I judge. When I read the author's bio (which I always do), I look at the photos. And I judge. I decide whether or not I could be friends with the writer, based on how they look in their photo. Deanna Raybourn and I would not be friends. She looks a tad airbrushed, and she's wearing a bad '80s sort of Twilight-meets-Mr. Rochester's Wife get-up that annoys me. She's from Texas, which makes me wonder if her little costume speaks for how she thinks writers of gothic romances ought to look. However, I do enjoy her books. If you have not read her Lady Julia Grey series (Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor), DO IT. They are pretty well written, entertaining, have a good hook for their mystery, and she keeps you waiting for the romance between Julia and Nicholas Brisbane (who I picture looking like Clive Owen, for some reason). Speaking of which, do you do that? Do you picture movie stars as the characters? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Back to The Dead Travel Fast. I totally understand the "dead" part of the equation, but not so much for the "traveling fast." All of the dead seem to be from the tiny village in Transylvania, where the story is set. Theodora Lestrange (I blame Texas for that name - and before you Texans besmirch me, think of your own animus against the other 49 states in the union) is a ripe old spinster at 23, so, itching for an adventure and for a spark to her nascent writing career, she sets off for Romania to visit an old school chum. Naturally, she meets a tall, dark, gloriously handsome but maddeningly mysterious man, named Count Andrei Dragulescu. I think we're supposed to draw a line between Count Andrei and Count Dracula, because there are suspicions that Andrei the Hottie might want to suck your blood. Or something. But back to the story. Theodora gets caught up in a murder mystery, as well as the mystery of Count Andrei's family and the legends surrounding it. Are they vampires? Werewolves? Something worse? Something better? I enjoyed this one. After the Lady Julia books, I'd grown accustomed to Deanna Raybourn's propensity to drag out romance and make you yearn for some lovin', touchin' and squeezin'. There is not much more of it here, but there is one scene that will get your blood flowing. Like a lot of romance novels (although I bet Deanna Raybourn does not think of herself as a romance novelist), The Dead Travel Fast features a preternaturally gorgeous and masculine love interest, the type you wish existed in real life. There were a couple of twists to the book, one of which I saw coming a mile away, but the other was a pleasant surprise. And picturing Andrei makes it fun.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    A watered-down narrative pretending to be a romance, a mystery, and a horror story all in one. Theodora Lestrange (no, I'm not kidding - that's her name) is an independent Victorian authoress on her way to Transylvania to visit an old school friend and get inspiration for her latest novel. Insert a handsome brooding count, echoes of vampire stories, and a few mysterious occurrences and you have The Dead Travel Fast. What would have been an otherwise enjoyable story was ruined by its lack of dedic A watered-down narrative pretending to be a romance, a mystery, and a horror story all in one. Theodora Lestrange (no, I'm not kidding - that's her name) is an independent Victorian authoress on her way to Transylvania to visit an old school friend and get inspiration for her latest novel. Insert a handsome brooding count, echoes of vampire stories, and a few mysterious occurrences and you have The Dead Travel Fast. What would have been an otherwise enjoyable story was ruined by its lack of dedication to one single idea. The heroine is skeptical of the rumors of vampires, but she does nothing towards investigating them (as she might in a mystery novel). The hero and the heroine share overwhelming chemistry, but the hero doesn't appear to be as interested in the heroine's feelings as she is in his (as he might be in a romance novel). Actually, he's kind of callous. Finally, there is an awful lot of talk about vampires and werewolves, and not a single appearance by either of them (so much for a horror story). The ending is swift and unsatisfying - hardly any questions were really answered and whatever emotional conclusion that has been drawn for the characters is unbelievable and forced. In short, this story is a deeply detailed description of a very roughly-drafted plot, and the book suffers for it. I loved the amount of detail Ms. Raybourn put into the landscape of Transylvania and the Dragulescu castle. I only wish she'd given the plot that much forethought and effort.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Juliette

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When I opened the book and found the prescript page,asking readers to let themselves be swept away by the lore she was about to delve into, I was hooked. I wanted to dive into that world she promised. Unfortunately, The Dead Travel Fast, made me feel as if I swan-dived off of the high diving board only to land in the shallow end of the pool. Raybourn's style of writing is fresh and interesting, it showed a lot of potential. And I LOVED the chemistry between the two main characters in the beginni When I opened the book and found the prescript page,asking readers to let themselves be swept away by the lore she was about to delve into, I was hooked. I wanted to dive into that world she promised. Unfortunately, The Dead Travel Fast, made me feel as if I swan-dived off of the high diving board only to land in the shallow end of the pool. Raybourn's style of writing is fresh and interesting, it showed a lot of potential. And I LOVED the chemistry between the two main characters in the beginning. However, about 3/4 of the way through, I had no idea where the female protagonist's heart should belong. I felt no allegiance to either of the men in her life. I was actually surprised when in the last page of the book, things wrapped up so...romantically (for lack of better word). All things considered, I liked the book purely for the writing style and the potential it had especially at the beginning. But I feel gypped. I only wanted what was promised: an escape into dark imagination and whimsy. Perhaps the author should have asked the same thing of herself.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This book reminded me of one of those classical gothic tales. It moved at a leisurely pace as the story unfolded slowly with interesting details. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the castle in Transylvania, the descriptions of the neighboring countryside, the many characters within the story and the heroine's will to be independent. However, I wish I had a better grasp of the hero in the story. Got glimpses of him, but they were just that, glimpses. I never really felt the character was totally flesh This book reminded me of one of those classical gothic tales. It moved at a leisurely pace as the story unfolded slowly with interesting details. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the castle in Transylvania, the descriptions of the neighboring countryside, the many characters within the story and the heroine's will to be independent. However, I wish I had a better grasp of the hero in the story. Got glimpses of him, but they were just that, glimpses. I never really felt the character was totally fleshed-out. Anyway, I would recommend this book to read on a dark and story night :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda

    A true gothic tale. I'd have liked the ending to stretch a little more.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    There wasn't anything particular about the style or the content that I could single out as being alluring, but this drew me in from the start and moved quickly, keeping my attention rapt from start to finish. What starts as a gothic romance turns on its heel to become a murder mystery steeped in suspicion that I daresay recalls du Maurier's Rebecca. The main character, Theodora, is strong and fierce in her grasp of feminism - determined not to lean on anyone but to make her living by way of her w There wasn't anything particular about the style or the content that I could single out as being alluring, but this drew me in from the start and moved quickly, keeping my attention rapt from start to finish. What starts as a gothic romance turns on its heel to become a murder mystery steeped in suspicion that I daresay recalls du Maurier's Rebecca. The main character, Theodora, is strong and fierce in her grasp of feminism - determined not to lean on anyone but to make her living by way of her writing. She is confronted with the prospect of marrying a man she respects but does not love, and instead opts out of marriage entirely, desirous of making a name for herself as an authoress. She is given the chance to work on her book when a friend from her younger days requests her presence at her imminent marriage. Upon arrival, she discovers the marriage is not to take place, and her friend expresses relief; thus planting the seeds which Translyvanian folklore fosters into a miasma from which the threads of fiction and fact are hard to differentiate. Little clues planted from the beginning steer the reader exactly as the author desires, from one suspicion to the next, and even Theodora's scientific mind is rocked by her own growing feelings for one of the potential suspects. The author never concludes one way or another in the matter of several aspects of fact vs. fiction - instead lending the reader a feeling that is it not necessary to KNOW, just to accept the beliefs of a people whose minds will not be swayed by one dissenter. The plot may not be overly complicated, but the delight of reading something that engaged me so throughly more than makes up for any lightness elsewhere. And certainly there are enough little sprinkles of character development that even though one may not pull it together until the end, nothing can be said as a surprising or unexpected turn from any of the characters - everything has built towards this end, even if you didn't know it as you read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    Up front, this book is NOT a Lady Julia book (one of my very favorite mystery series). It's been sitting around a while and I just decided to clear it off my Kindle. I liked it, but didn't LOVE it. Basically if you like a good period-ish Gothic romance set in Transylvania, you might really enjoy it. To me the main character didn't have enough flaws, and the beginning chapters were a bit clunky, but the meat of the book was quite satisfying and interesting. Fluffy one-off that Gothic fans might e Up front, this book is NOT a Lady Julia book (one of my very favorite mystery series). It's been sitting around a while and I just decided to clear it off my Kindle. I liked it, but didn't LOVE it. Basically if you like a good period-ish Gothic romance set in Transylvania, you might really enjoy it. To me the main character didn't have enough flaws, and the beginning chapters were a bit clunky, but the meat of the book was quite satisfying and interesting. Fluffy one-off that Gothic fans might enjoy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars I'm conflicted, much like I was when I read my very first Deanna Raybourn book, Silent in the Grave. I'm conflicted because Deanna Raybourn's ability to create vivid imagery and atmospheric narrative is just so excellent. But at the same time, she tends to spend a lot of time either building the story, or dragging out certain events in the story. So I don't know how I feel about this book, exactly, because aside from the few scenes that felt dragged, I had a hard time real Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars I'm conflicted, much like I was when I read my very first Deanna Raybourn book, Silent in the Grave. I'm conflicted because Deanna Raybourn's ability to create vivid imagery and atmospheric narrative is just so excellent. But at the same time, she tends to spend a lot of time either building the story, or dragging out certain events in the story. So I don't know how I feel about this book, exactly, because aside from the few scenes that felt dragged, I had a hard time really liking any of the characters, even Theodora. And the mystery... was actually quite predictable and I had it figured out, even if there was a bit of a twist in the end that I didn't see coming. But that's just me. I'm still trying to put my thoughts together, so a more refined review might be forthcoming. On an aside, I listened to the audio book version of this book, narrated by Charlotte Parry, which was absolutely excellent!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa - (Aussie Girl)

    A current author's interpretation of the gothic novel complete with atmospheric Transylvanian castle, brooding Count and mystery to be solved. I really enjoyed it... and must get to Transylvania one day!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jackleen

    Deanne Raybourne has given us a new Victorian heroine to cheer for in this suspenseful historical mystery set in the atmospheric Carpathian Mountains and includes a creepy castle, a brooding handsome Count, vampires and werewolves, as well as, an old dowager countess with secrets of her own, a talented musician working as a lowly servant and an old friend whose life is not as she has claimed. Theodora Lestrange, an orphan raised by her grandfather, dreams of becoming a novelist. Following the dea Deanne Raybourne has given us a new Victorian heroine to cheer for in this suspenseful historical mystery set in the atmospheric Carpathian Mountains and includes a creepy castle, a brooding handsome Count, vampires and werewolves, as well as, an old dowager countess with secrets of her own, a talented musician working as a lowly servant and an old friend whose life is not as she has claimed. Theodora Lestrange, an orphan raised by her grandfather, dreams of becoming a novelist. Following the death of her grandfather, Theodora is confronted with the proposition of a suitable marriage from her own publisher; a man, while not unattractive, but who is hopelessly mundane. Theodora longs for adventure and independence. When opportunity arrives in the form of a letter from an old school friend, Cosmina, to travel to a castle in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, Theodora grabs it with both hands. The castle is deliciously old and creepy and the perfect backdrop to write a novel. And, the attractive brooding Count Andrei Dragulescu is a most excellent muse and character for her budding novel. As she is drawn to Andrei, Theodora finds she is more than just interested in writing. Unfortunately said count is also engaged to her friend and Theodora must fight an attraction that seems to be equally reciprocated. The rumours concerning the count’s family, as well as, his own odd nocturnal behaviour, has Theodora’s fertile imagination jumping to certain vampire conclusions. When it becomes clear that all is not as it seems at the castle, she begins to investigate. Theodora soon has more than she bargained for when tales of vampires and werewolves proceed to murder and pagan ceremonies. As Theodora sets out to discover the truth, she finds herself in danger from those she thought most cared for her. A light hearted historical mystery romance that is sure to please Deanne Raybourne fans. This is not a Lady Grey novel, but progresses in similar fashion with the addition of an excellent new setting and characters. Raybourne handles the mystery with delft hands and keeps us guessing to the end, delivering a perfect twist.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Milena Benini

    Having finished all four in the lady Julia series, I went on to The Dead Travel Fast because I wanted to see what Ms. Raybourn would do away from the same group of characters. It was worth it. What Raybourn does best is gothic (I'd add a gothic shelf if I weren't too lazy), and here she really comes into her own. The atmosphere is well done, and the feeling of uncertainty -- is the menace real or not? and if it is, is it supernatural or just somebody using local legends to literally get away with Having finished all four in the lady Julia series, I went on to The Dead Travel Fast because I wanted to see what Ms. Raybourn would do away from the same group of characters. It was worth it. What Raybourn does best is gothic (I'd add a gothic shelf if I weren't too lazy), and here she really comes into her own. The atmosphere is well done, and the feeling of uncertainty -- is the menace real or not? and if it is, is it supernatural or just somebody using local legends to literally get away with murder? -- is almost perfectly executed. Add to this the fact that the hero of this book is even more of a Heathcliff than Raybourn's detective, and the Dead could rise all the way to four stars level. What kept it at three were some details. Number one, having glommed the Raybourn oeuvre, I could identify the culprit before the murder was even committed -- it's a really easy formula to follow. Number two, a Hungarian/Rumanian family had the last name Frankopan (you have to be from Croatia to get this one.) And, finally, the romance ending was totally tacked-on and unconvincing, carrying the emotional strenght of a pack of M&M's. No, I don't know why I chose that particular comparison either, but it seems to work. All in all, if you've never read any Raybourn, this is a good place to start. Provided you love gothic mysteries, you'll have a good time, too.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cindi

    When her father dies, Theodora Lestrange travels to a cold and decaying castle in the Rumania where she is haunted by tales of vampires and werewolves. She is dangerously attracted to the dark Count Dragulescu who begins to seduce her upon arrival: is he what he seems, or something inhuman and unnatural? I am a fan of Raybourn's Lady Julia series, so I really looked forward to this book...and was sadly disappointed. In the "Silent" series, Raybourn shines as she creates a seamless Victorian worl When her father dies, Theodora Lestrange travels to a cold and decaying castle in the Rumania where she is haunted by tales of vampires and werewolves. She is dangerously attracted to the dark Count Dragulescu who begins to seduce her upon arrival: is he what he seems, or something inhuman and unnatural? I am a fan of Raybourn's Lady Julia series, so I really looked forward to this book...and was sadly disappointed. In the "Silent" series, Raybourn shines as she creates a seamless Victorian world...I marvel at the dialog and descriptions of culture. But "dead" was a dischordant mixture of modern and period which kept me from fully immersing in the tale. I have a personal vendetta against literature which glorifies unhealthy relationships, and the "hero," Count Andrei, is a horribly unhealthy man who brags of his womanizing, indulges in opium and is an imperialistic ogre! When he touches Theodora I find it repulsive, not seductive, when I think of where those hands have been!!! I also abhor fatalistic love stories where the heroine seems unable to break away from the hypnotic attraction of her lover. Theodora's inability to resist the Count makes her a weak heroine: despite all her modern ideals, she is ruled by her hormones, not her head!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Terra

    I must say that this book was quite a surprise and I absolutely loved it from page one to the very end. I am not a mystery reader and that is where the story took me by surprise but it was a good surprise. It's supposed to be a paranormal romance but I would say it's more of a paranormal mystery with a dash of romance to wet the appetite. Our heroine Theodora has just lost her grandfather a few months past and is working with her sister and brother-in-law to settle up his estate when Theodora get I must say that this book was quite a surprise and I absolutely loved it from page one to the very end. I am not a mystery reader and that is where the story took me by surprise but it was a good surprise. It's supposed to be a paranormal romance but I would say it's more of a paranormal mystery with a dash of romance to wet the appetite. Our heroine Theodora has just lost her grandfather a few months past and is working with her sister and brother-in-law to settle up his estate when Theodora gets a post from an old friend from when she was in school requesting that she come to Transylvania for the friends upcoming wedding. Theodora decides to go and this is where the journey will take her from a comfortable secure life to a life of beauty, hardship, horror, murder, love and a who-dun-it mystery rich in folklore and superstition. The story kept me guessing right up until the end and the murderer was not who I would have ever expected it to be. The narration was wonderful and the story was richly descriptive to make you feel all the emotions that our heroine is experiencing. Sight, scenery, taste and smell are all there in their glory. I will most certainly be checking out more of what this author has to offer after such a delightful experience.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    I wouldn't quite say this was on par with Deanna Raybourn's 'Julia Grey' novels, but it was still enjoyable and a good way to spend a cold January morning. I do have to warn you that my one complaint is the author's continuous need to refer to the Transylvania countryside as either 'story-book' or 'out of a fairy tale'. A few times is okay, but throughout the book the surroundings are referred to as such and it got a little old after a while. I felt like I wanted a little bit more from the endin I wouldn't quite say this was on par with Deanna Raybourn's 'Julia Grey' novels, but it was still enjoyable and a good way to spend a cold January morning. I do have to warn you that my one complaint is the author's continuous need to refer to the Transylvania countryside as either 'story-book' or 'out of a fairy tale'. A few times is okay, but throughout the book the surroundings are referred to as such and it got a little old after a while. I felt like I wanted a little bit more from the ending too. But really, Deanna Raybourn's writing has yet to disappoint.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kagama-the Literaturevixen

    Aspires to be the Gothic-est of all gothic novels.So hard its on the verge of becoming a parody. Dark ominious castle check,heroine is unsettled by hero,servants mutter in corners and wear herbs to ward off evil. Feels like the author uses the heroine to voice her own opinions.Example...the heroine is an author who doesnt want to marry and have children like her sister.Its like a fate worse than death

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is Lady Julia Grey and 10 is Veronica Speedwell, Theodora is dead center. She is not particularly annoying or particularly exciting. From the reviews I had very low expectations, which ended up working in this books favor. The setting is striving for an atmospheric feel and the mystery was a slow burn, but it keep me reading. The prose is a little rough in places, but my main complaint with this book is our MC's name. Theodora Lestrange. I have a irrational dislike On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is Lady Julia Grey and 10 is Veronica Speedwell, Theodora is dead center. She is not particularly annoying or particularly exciting. From the reviews I had very low expectations, which ended up working in this books favor. The setting is striving for an atmospheric feel and the mystery was a slow burn, but it keep me reading. The prose is a little rough in places, but my main complaint with this book is our MC's name. Theodora Lestrange. I have a irrational dislike for it. Eye rolls ensued when I read the first sentence and I had to say out loud the my boyfriend 'you wont believe the stupid name this character has'. Other complaints include the ending being a little self congratulatory and the audio narrators voice for the Count which is not dark and brooding or even a hilarious impersonation of the Count from Sesame Street. I have absolutely no idea what the narrator was trying to do, it was distracting at best.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindap

    3.75 / 4 Stars I just finished reading the Lady Julia Gray Series and felt I'd give The Dead Travel Fast a try and see if I like others stories by DR. Have to say, I quite liked this one, too. I've enjoyed her writing style throughout all the books. Theodora is a very progressive thinking woman who wants to earn her own living and not be beholding to reluctant relatives. She does this by writing stories. At first she writes under another name, but she feels if she's going to write it, she's going 3.75 / 4 Stars I just finished reading the Lady Julia Gray Series and felt I'd give The Dead Travel Fast a try and see if I like others stories by DR. Have to say, I quite liked this one, too. I've enjoyed her writing style throughout all the books. Theodora is a very progressive thinking woman who wants to earn her own living and not be beholding to reluctant relatives. She does this by writing stories. At first she writes under another name, but she feels if she's going to write it, she's going to own it. About this time a childhood friend, Cosmina, invites Theodora to visit her up in the Carpathian Mountains before her upcoming wedding to Count Andrei Dragulescu. Theodora had heard stories of vampires and wolves from Cosmina; thinking they were tale tales, but there's some truth to all tales....

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mari (Smut Duchess)

    3.5 - 4.0 *** I borrowed the audio book with Audible's Romance Unlimited. I like Deanna Raybourn's writing style. It's a historical book so all the characters are extremely polite but she doesn't let the story get bogged down by the character's station, status or fashions. Theodora is an aspiring writer from Scotland. She'd rather write to support herself than take the traditional path of marriage and children. She's receives an invitation from her school friend to stay in a Romanian castle. Theod 3.5 - 4.0 *** I borrowed the audio book with Audible's Romance Unlimited. I like Deanna Raybourn's writing style. It's a historical book so all the characters are extremely polite but she doesn't let the story get bogged down by the character's station, status or fashions. Theodora is an aspiring writer from Scotland. She'd rather write to support herself than take the traditional path of marriage and children. She's receives an invitation from her school friend to stay in a Romanian castle. Theodora jumps at the idea of travel and writing her next story in an old castle. There is a bit of romance with the new Count. Then a maid is murdered amidst rumors of werewolves and vampire. Charlotte Parry's narration was very good. Each character voice was unique.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I love Deanna Raybourn. This is sort of a Dracula variation, a gothic romance set in Transylvania. Theodora is a cool, authoress heroine who just wants to visit her friend and not get married off to her boring publisher. I didn't love The Count (he was very typical). If you're looking for a spooky gothic romance, this is a great one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    I really like this author! This is a stand alone Gothic novel written in the tradition of Gothic novels. An aspiring writer of novels travels to Romania to visit a school friend at the Castle Draculescilu and Gothic adventures and a romance ensue. Are vampires and werewolves the cause of the troubles? Or is something more sinister afoot? A well done story and I will continue to read the author's other books.

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