April 11, 2017
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Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father's choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.Duels and Deception is written by Cindy Anstey, author of last year's Love, Lies and Spies. Though the new novel is also a Regency romance, it does not overlap with the characters of Love, Lies and Spies or their lives. While I wouldn't have disliked seeing those characters again, I also liked that this was a wholly separate tale. It allows this to really be about Lydia, her family, Robert, his life and how it all intersects.
Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won't hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert's help, Lydia strives to keep her family's good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…
There is definitely still that wit, charm and humor that I loved in Anstey's first novel and I couldn't have been happier about that. There were whole passages I highlighted because the interaction between the characters, the way the societal norms were taken and (while still mattering greatly) spun on their heads a bit for humor. These characters absolutely felt the need to abide by what was expected, proper and decent but also managed to be completely not what you would expect from someone being proper decent or as expected.
At times it was a bit difficult to see that bigger picture that everything was a part of; it seemed like vents weren't always part of some larger plot but more just happening. It was all a part of some bigger, overall story, however. I liked that you could get so involved in what was currently happening that you forgot where it played in the grand scheme of things.
I enjoyed that details about Regency life, about what was expected of the different classes and genders, and how things worked were included and a part of the story. It not only lent a more realistic air to things but was great fun (and interesting).
The romance(s) in Duels and Deception are fantastic with the right amounts of chemistry, frustration (in regards to the era and how things must take place but also the different characters' involvements), humor and charm. It all makes for a superb read and I am absolutely, completely, one hundred percect looking forward to Cindy Anstey's next novel, 2018's Suitors and Sabotage.
digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley