Thanks to NetGalley and Swoon reads for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: 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 to plan.
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.
Duels & Deceptions is a fun and frothy Regency-era read with a heroine who Jane Austen would have liked!
Lydia Whitfield is my favorite kind of character. She’s highly intelligent, courageous, has a dry sense of humor, and is a little snarky. The romance between her and Robert, starts a bit awkwardly, but by the end they were utterly endearing. The banter between them is funny and sharp, and I enjoyed seeing them match wits. They’re vividly brought to life by Anstey giving them both third person POVs.
The first part of the book is fast-paced and filled with humor. Then around the halfway point things seemed to slow down somewhat. It wasn’t boring by any means. It just didn’t seem to have as much action. Things picked back up though in the latter part of the story and the ending was picture perfect.
I found the world-building to be well executed, and it’s obvious that Cindy Anstey did her research into 1800s societal norms, dress, and language. I’m a little fussy when it comes to anachronisms in any of the historical fiction books I read, but I really didn’t stumble across any here.
While the figure behind Lydia’s and Robert’s kidnapping isn’t difficult to figure out, the couple’s investigation is still enjoyable to follow.
There’s not a lot of straight historical fiction for YAs that doesn’t involve fantasy or paranormal elements, particularly Regency era stories, so I’m quite happy that Duels & Deceptions proved to be so enjoyable. The tone of the book is so lighthearted and fun, I think I had a smile on my face almost the entire time I was reading it. I highly recommend this for YA and adult fans of historical romance. I’m looking forward to reading more books by Cindy Anstey.