Duels and Deceptions
by Cindy Antsey
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Swoon Reads
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 review might contains spoiler and definitely contains a lot of Austen-reference.
Historical fiction is a genre that I read a lot, but unfortunately, it’s a rare sub-genre in YA. When they do make an appearance, a fantasy element will mostly take the spotlight rather than the historical aspect. While I have no qualms (hey, look at me using fancy words!) with magical aspect, sometimes all I wanted to read was a plain old historical fiction, but in YA instead of adult genre. So when I found out about Duels and Deceptions, I was very excited. It’s like a book I’ve been waiting for, a Jane Austen meet YA, not to mention the amazing reviews that had been pouring in.
In the Jane Austen and historical fiction part, this book really hits the mark, minus the complex language. Like Austen, this book is filled with strict social etiquettes and class division from the Regency era and obviously, about “good match in marriage” which is a major point in most of Austen’s book. While those things are discussed in this book, the prevalent theme in this book is more on woman social standing at that time. Lydia was constantly faced difficulties she’s still young and a woman. It might seem subtle, the romance seem overshadow it, but if you really think, Lydia’s position really is the undercurrent problem of the book.
Talking about the romance, this is no Darcy and Elizabeth, but it’s more like Anne and Captain Wentworth, minus the former meeting. It’s so cute seeing how they insisted that they are “just friends” *wink wink wink* and tell themselves to stop thinking about each other. But the writing also make us feel the trappings of their position and different classes that separate them in that era.
Oh Regency Era classes, how do I hate thee from constantly separating my OTPs.
Other than the romance and the themes of the book, also in true Austen-style, this book has:
- Nagging family members
- Gossiping neighbors
- Family problems and expectations
- The best friend/sister romance problem. In this case: best friend
Duels and Deceptions are the perfect book for people who love Jane Austen books or are intimidated to read them and want a taste of them. The similarity of the comparison might seem uncomfortable to you, but I really enjoyed the familiarity while reading it, and the way the author shape them as her own is fascinating. Sadly, it didn’t quite hit the mark for me and some parts really dragged. Still, I’m curious enough to want to read her other books. If you want something different for Summer, this book is for you.