ARC Review: Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey


Duels & Deception
Series: None
Author: Cindy Anstey
Published April 11th 2017 by Swoon Reads

Goodreads 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 according 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…

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

Anstey's previous book, Love, Lies, and Spies was one of my favourite books of last year. I adore anything to do with the Regency Era and Anstey completely understood the era and how to create a fantastic plot line. I had high hopes for Duels & Deception, and was not disappointed.

Duels & Deception sees Lydia as the mistress of her own household, but because she is a girl, she doesn't have control over her inheritance. Her incompetent uncle is slowly ruining her home and squandering her wealth for his own gain, and no one will listen to her. Her mother only cares about marrying her off, and her intended is far beneath what Lydia deserves, even if he is off the same rank as her. However, when her lawyer's apprentice comes to visit to check on the estate and her marriage contract, they soon find themselves kidnapped, and thrown into a whole world of intrigue. Someone wants her money, and won't hesitate to ruin her reputation to do so, and Lydia and Robert have to work together in order to protect themselves.

I loved the story from the get go. Yes, parts of the plot was predictable and a tad unbelievable at times, but I still enjoyed every minute. The world was so well written and detailed that I felt as if I was immersed in the world, which was perfect for me.

Lydia was someone who reminded me of my all time favourite heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. She had an edge about her, and chaffed at the restrictions of her time because of her gender. She was more than capable of running her household, but no, she couldn't, because she was a lady, and a whole bunch of incompetent men are obviously more prepared for the job. She had her life planned out, and knew what she needed to do if she wanted to be happy. Obviously, none of this panned out, but I feel like Lydia acted brilliantly, and dealt with her lot with true grit.

Her relationship with Robert was as swoony as I could've wanted. Every interaction they had, there were sparks flying, and though both felt unworthy of one another, they tried everything they could to protect the other, and keep them safe. I loved how Robert appreciated Lydia's brilliance, and didn't look down upon her simply because she was female, but rather cherished her capabilities as someone should.

The revelation of who was behind the blackmailing wasn't completely out of the blue, but I did enjoy how Anstey led up to this point, and how much action there was in the book. I can't wait to see what Anstey publishes next, she has definitely gone on my must buy list!

Dates Read:
April 20-23, 2017

4 Stars

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