Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey
Publish date: April 11, 2017
Received an ARC from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via Netgalley for a fair review.
“Chivalry and good manners were all well and good in a ballroom. However, being on a lonely road while rushing away from villainous villains was neither the time nor the place for excessive decorum.”
What a delightful story! Fans of regency romances will find romance, comedy, and even a little mystery and intrigue in this novel.
Duels and Deception is told from alternating points of views we are given a rich story of love, responsibility, and what a proper lady does with her time and money. Lydia Whitfield is in need of her lawyer to assist her with her estate. Robert Newton, her lawyer’s apprentice answer the call and their relationship soon becomes more than just a meeting here and there from your solicitor. An attempt to the safety of Miss Whitfield brings the two together as they make their way first to safety and then to solve the mystery of who exactly would be culprit behind her kidnapping.
Like Jane Austen, Cindy Anstey uses free indirect speech to help guide the interactions of the characters had the understanding of ritual that was proper and expected in that era. This allowed our characters a whole slew of backhanded comments and insults all the while keeping face and propriety.
The entire time I was reading this I kept snickering aloud to myself as I read the interactions between the characters. The actions of the characters were heightened even more as we read them from different points of views. Often we are pitched this genre of story from the female’s point of view, however, seeing the male point of view offers a few LOL moments.
“A niche was found for him next to Miss Elaine, who seemed to be suffering her usual eye affliction – batting and blinking – while leaning in closer and closer until Robert feared she might tumble from her chair.”
Our characters are given great personalities that develop as they have to deal with what is proper and what they really want to say or do. And what happens when someone is insulted? A challenge to a duel! Oh what fun duels are…miscommunication leads to the keeping of honor which leads to death.
This book was sweet and comical at the same time. The entire time we are wondering who done it all the while rooting for our unlikely couple. The characters are endearing, especially when they are drawing closer to each other despite the character flaws they both may have. By the end I was swooning and cheering on the two as they face their love vs. decorum.