Duels & Deception
By Cindy Anstey
Published: April 11, 2017
Lydia Whitfield 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, Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.
Until the day Lydia is kidnapped—and Robert along with her. 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 name unsullied and expose the one behind this 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 wants...
Fans of historical romance will delight in Duels and Deception, a young adult novel from Cindy Anstey, author of Love, Lies and Spies.
Lydia is considered something of a bluestocking but she is fabulously wealthy and unofficially engaged to the son of her late father's best friend. Lydia is determined to go through with her father's plan for her life as she considered him to be wise. He always put the needs of the estate first and she feels she must do the same. Then she meets Robert Newton, the new apprentice to her solicitor. Mr. Newton stirs up unexpected feelings in Lydia from the moment they meet and she starts to question her path.
I liked Lydia though I also wanted to smack her because she could be annoying regarding her fiance and although she is supposed to be intelligent she didn't always come across that way. She is at least better than her silly relatives. Robert was more likable.
Duels & Deception is a lighthearted Regency romance for teens but it is rather bland and the action is slow paced in spite of the description. At times I wanted to scream with frustration because of the pacing but as the book went along it became a little more interesting. There is some humor (at the expense of the ridiculous characters) as well as romance and while I wish the pacing was better, it is not a bad book and it grew on me. I think readers who are more patient than I would appreciate it more. It reminded me a little bit of Patrice Kindl's Keeping the Castle and the tone was somewhat reminiscent of Gail Carriger's Etiquette and Espionage (though without the steampunk elements) and the recent film Love & Friendship.
Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley