Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Cindy Anstey
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Miss Lydia Whitfield’s life is all planned out. Her father has chosen her husband and her dutifullness makes her happy to accept so she can care for her estate and family. But behind the scenes, her Uncle, who is serving as trustee, is ruining everything and only Lydia can save her livelihood. Robert, a clerk for the estate’s lawyer, wants to help her, but when Lydia is kidnapped, it’s her reputation on the line. Avoiding scandal with the help of her friends Lydia can’t deny her feelings for Robert, especially when her intended fiancé challenges him to a duel. Together Robert and Lydia devise a clever way out of the challenge while at the same time foiling a devilish plot to bilk Lydia out of all her money and opening the way for true love’s triumph.
Anstey creates a character who is spunky and intelligent and then adds freshness to her romance by allowing her male lead to love her heroine for these exact qualities. The extensive cast of secondary characters add great flair to the story and accentuate some perfectly unprincipled villains. The plot is well paced with just the right amount of scheming and backstabbing to balance out the thoughtful moments that address the themes of friendship and love. With a clear regency setting, this book is certainly for fans of Austen, who are looking for a clean starter romance that pays homage to the era with just enough of a modern flair for contemporary readers to be engaged.