I first heard about Cindy Anstey when her first novel, Love, Lies and Spies, was released in 2016.

The comparisons to Jane Austen’s works, as well as both Victorian- and Regency-era literature, continued to pique my interest.

By the time her second novel, Duels and Deception, was released, I absolutely had to get my hands on it.

I am so happy that I did — I read the entire novel in one sitting, basically staying up all night to do so.

The characters of Lydia and Robert have such wonderful personalities.

Lydia has just enough spunk to be interesting, but not too many modern notions to seem unbelievable.

Meanwhile, Robert is perfectly chivalrous without being a condescending git.

Anstey’s writing is perfectly paced, taking you from one scene to the next at dizzying speeds that make you fly through the pages.

She paints her historical setting masterfully without “info dumping” and thus creates a thoroughly interesting tale.

The secondary characters also were wonderful. Villians are deplorable but humorous, the friends stalwart and true, and Lydia’s family is the perfect mix of ridiculous and supportive.

While I wouldn’t necessarily compare Anstey to Austen in a direct way — the witty and almost satirical social commentary is obviously missing — there definitely were homages to Austen sprinkled throughout that made the experience even more fun.

Overall, this was a hilarious, sweet and truly enjoyable tale, and I fully intend to continue reading Anstey’s work as she continues to release it.

I received a complementary eGalley of this novel. However, all opinions are my own.