28 March, 2017

{ ARC Review } Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey

Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey
Standalone Novel
Publishes April 11, 2017 by Swoon Reads
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
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….


My Review

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Last year, when I read Anstey's debut, Love, Lies & Spies, I was both charmed and hooked. The adorable little historical rom-com was just what I need and had me staying up on a school night to finish it. So when it came to this novel, I was beyond excited!

The thing is... it didn't quite feel the same? I mean, I didn't expect it to be because it was about a different cast of characters. Still, though, once I started this book, it had a similar feel to Love, Lies & Spies, and yet... 

Siiiiiiigh. Nevertheless, Duels & Deception was a load of fun. Accurate or not, Anstey knows how to enchant readers with adorable hints of romance and lots of witty commentary. Her characters are fun and it makes for an entertaining read. Duels & Deception was all of that: cute, slow-burn romance, quirky characters, and also an interesting mystery!

I have to say that the romance was my favourite part of the novel! I loved both parties, Robert and Lydia. From the get go, you could tell they were attracted to each other and it was sort of funny how they kept either avoiding or pushing those feelings away. I appreciated that Anstey had them start off as friends and slowly grow to more as they spent more time together. I also liked how their conversations were easy and fun, full of banter and provided a lot of comedic relief.

Yet... as much as I appreciate that, a lot of the time, the dialogue felt... very flat. Dull. It's hard to say but I just couldn't really feel it? Some of the long winded conversations just didn't work out for me and it was the main reason I couldn't really love this novel as much as I wanted to.

Anyway. I really did like Lydia. Though she was a bit overbearing, trying to control nearly every aspect she could manage—her estate, her marriage—seeing her fall for Robert was really nice to see. It definitely went against her plans so the way she grew as a character was quite amazing. I also loved her friendship with her best friend, Cora. Lydia's friendship helped Cora through a hard time and it was great seeing them interact.

Robert was also quite charming! He was witty and very transparent with his feelings and I thought it was so endearing. He has his own problems on the side, especially with a friend, and I loved how dedicated he was to helping him.

Now, the mystery. I won't lie, I didn't expect much from it. It was well plotted though, but fairly easy to figure out who was behind it early on. Quick run down: Lydia and Robert, because he tried to save her, were kidnapped. They managed to escape but something didn't feel right about it. Despite that though, someone was holding what happened that night over Lydia's head as blackmail. Whenever that was directly mentioned, I kind of wished I didn't know who was behind it. This really doesn't affect my opinion of the book, but y'know. Small things.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed by this novel, but I'm still glad I got to read it! Despite my misgivings, the book still entertained me. 3.5 stars!


  1. I've been curious about this. I might just give it a go and sounds interesting. Great review!

    1. Thank you! Of course, most of it was just me, but I'd definitely say check it out!