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 in Duels and Deception.
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… (via Goodreads)
I received an eARC from Netgalley and the publisher, Swoon Reads, in exchange for an honest review.
The best way to describe this book is that it is frankly delightful. I’m not sure how to describe the writing style, almost like head hopping, but it absolutely worked for me. You get a lot of Lydia, and just enough of Robert to keep you completely intrigued.
Lydia was no-nonsense, but really caring. She wasn’t exactly wedded to her social stature, but she respected it and enjoyed it as it was. I loved that she actively worked to be great as the de facto head of household, and to take care of Roseberry, but was still very traditionally feminine. I also loved that the idea of being late made her incredibly anxious.
“She was now overburdened with thoughts of tardiness and broken wheels while her solicitor’s emissary thought nothing of being mysterious.”
Every time I thought I had Duels and Deception figured out, it took a twist that surprised me, which is kind of rare for me when I read mysteries.
There were some absolutely great female friendships in this book. Shelly and Cora were devious and sweet, just like many of my own friends. I also loved that Shodster was looking out for everyone, even when Lydia didn’t want him to.
The ending of Duels and Deception had me howling with laughter, literally. I can’t tell you anything because I don’t want to spoil that beautiful moment for you, but holy hell it was beautiful. Also, proposals by ladies are awesome.
I really enjoyed Duels and Deception. I think if you enjoy Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries or Miss Marple, this book is definitely something you’ll love. This was a five star read for me, and I’ll definitely be checking out Anstey’s first book, Love, Lies and Spies!
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