Duels and Deception
by Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 11th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
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…
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.
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Quick Reasons: entertaining, beautifully written historical fiction; absolutely adore Lydia; realistic, delicious romance; a subtle hint of mystery and intrigue; Lydia’s shift from “not a romantic” to “fully in love” is believable and well-done; oh my penguins, THE SNARK
Huge thanks to Cindy Anstey, Swoon Reads, Netgalley, and Xpresso Book Tours for granting me free access to a digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.
Holy penguins, is Lydia QUITE the character! I fell in love with her pretty quickly, honestly–her snark and personality are loud and vibrantly painted and she drew me in like a fine work of art. I kept trying to burrow my way into her heart, to better see and feel the world from her point of view. In fact, I’d say she’s one of my favorite characters of recent reads–the fact that she’s so super snarky and to the point only helped to cement her place in my list of favorite personalities. She’s blunt, she goes after what she wants (for the most part), and she doesn’t let society denote what she does with her life or her time. I mean seriously, she’s a role model–and her story in this read? Only helped to strengthen the message that you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to, so long as you don’t let the rest of the world get in your way.
The relationship with Robert– ahem, Mr. Newton –started out a bit awkwardly and stilted. In the end, though, it was believably written and so, so endearing. Robert was written to perfectly match Lydia in wit and intellect–and helped prove that real romance and passion do exist in the world. The fact that they start off a little rocky, and each hiding their feelings for the other because of convention or rules– only to finally drop the act –was realistic, though a bit frustrating at times for me (I just wanted to shake some sense into their hearts, that’s all!)
The slight, subtle use of mystery and intrigue helped to pull me more thoroughly into this read, and I really enjoyed that we got the story from both perspectives. I find what I miss most in books like this– such as Pride and Prejudice –is that we weren’t given a glimpse into the OTHER side of the story. This book took the guessing and the mystery away by giving us access to Mr. Newton’s thoughts and emotions, which I really appreciated. This helped to make him less a “bystander” in the action of his life, but have a more concrete and tangible role in the story.
This was such a snarky, personality-filled, entertaining read, and I’m even more excited now to pick up more of Cindy Anstey in the future! Lydia’s vibrant, strong-willed character and Robert’s passionate intellect made for a positively wonderful match. The action of the plot, mixed with the subtle mystery, helped to keep me enthralled throughout. I definitely recommend this to lovers of historical fiction, vividly-painted characters, and subtle societal statements. This read enchanted me, penguins; maybe you should take a taste of the magic, too.