Title: Duels and Deception
Author: Cindy Anstey
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads (Macmillan imprint)
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.
Duels and Deception is a sweet, easy-going mystery full of colourful characters and nefarious plots. Thankfully, a clever heroine and a trusting hero are on the case.
Lydia is an intelligent young woman. She's not one to be taken advantage of. Raised to be a practical free-thinker by her late father, she knows what to do in terms what to plant on the family estate, which is the apples they've previously grown. Not the ridiculous pineapples her money-grubbing uncle suggests. But he treats her like a child. So she writes to her solicitor to come help, who sends Mr. Robert Newton to assist her. Robert is smart and compassionate, he understands from the start that Lydia is educated and knowledgeable, understands that her uncle is only looking out for his own dwindling wealth. And so Robert agrees to help Lydia, but then becomes kidnapped along with her, and the two are forced to piece apart a number of mysterious situations.
I found this to be a light and easy read with a rather layered mystery. There are a number of events happening to and around Lydia and Robert, kidnappings and duels and villainous thievery. Combined with both the attitudes and the wit of the Regency England setting, this made for a fun read. Maybe a little slow in the middle, but still entertaining. I'd recommend this to those who enjoyed the author's previous book.
(I received an advance copy of this title from Raincoast Books.)