Title: Duels and Deception
Author: Cindy Anstey
Genre: YA Historical
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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…
This book was, in a word, adorable. I don't read regency romance a lot, but this one was so cute and fun and I absolutely enjoyed it.
I loved our main characters. Lydia was an interesting character. On one side, she is very much the model daughter, putting away her wants and wishes for the good of the estate and her family. One the other hand, she is outspoken and independent. She has decided to marry the man of her father's choosing to protect the estate and honor his wishes, but she also has to stand up to her uncle, whose greed is close to ruining her estate and wealth. She was such a fun and enjoyable character to read about, even if sometimes she was a bit too hard-headed.
Robert was so sweet and adorable. He realizes pretty quickly that he's fallen for Lydia, even though he knows he can't do anything about it. Still, he was kind and gentlemanly, and I love that we also got to see his perspective. I feel that the secondary characters were not fleshed out well, they existed for their purpose in the story, but in this case, it worked to not distract from our MC's. I wouldn't mind a spin-off story about Cassidy, though.
Although the summary makes it seem like such a huge part, the kidnapping was not actually the bulk of the story. That part in itself was over pretty quickly, and the rest of the story was spent dealing with the aftermath. I do think the story lagged for a bit in the middle, but by this point, I was so invested in our characters that I didn't mind. While it was pretty easy to guess who was behind it all, there was still a sense of intrigue and mystery.
I loved the romance between Lydia and Robert, as it blossomed slowly and sweetly. These two were just a lot of fun to read about. They kept me laughing, and the whole story was a fast read. I loved it and I will definitely be checking out more of this author's work.
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