Title: A Duel for Christmas (Pevensey Mysteries #3)
Author: Rosanne E. Lortz
Publisher: Madison Street Publishing
Publication Date: 1 October 2018
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Regency Romance/Mystery
Source: ARC via NetGalley
After seven long years in Devon, Lady Maud Worlington returns to London to reclaim life on her own terms, but a nefarious shadow and the prospect of financial ruin dog her steps. An impulsive and unforgettable kiss under the mistletoe creates a connection with Geoffrey, the handsome, young Duke of Tilbury. Yet as pleasant as it is to have a suitor, Maud is not sure how a boy of one-and-twenty can prove an equal partner in life and the equal of all the forces mounted against her.
The Duke of Tilbury considers himself as adept at managing matters as he is at swordplay, but his beautiful new acquaintance Lady Worlington has other ideas about how to manage her complicated life. Intrigued by their stolen kiss, Geoffrey pursues Lady Worlington's affections, only to be foiled by the lady's own doubts, by rivals for her hand, and by a sudden death that affects both their families. When Jacob Pevensey, the investigator from Bow Street enters the scene, the duke becomes a prime suspect in the murder case. Truths are unearthed that Geoffrey would rather keep hidden, and the twelve days of Christmas race toward a perilous end.
This Regency novel of romantic suspense was inspired by the medieval events surrounding the sinking of the White Ship in 1120. It is the third novel in the Pevensey Mysteries but can be read with enjoyment as a standalone Christmas novel.
Overall, I enjoyed A Duel for Christmas. I am a sucker for Regency romance, so this work was right up my street. I loved the characters of Maud and Geoffrey, and the plot had plenty of action and suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat, figuratively speaking. I thought the story evoked the era well; however, there were, I believe, mistakes in the titling of some of the noble characters. I did also wonder at times about the romance. I liked the idea of the two of them as a pair, but there was an element of insta-love about it, and we didn't get many opportunities to observe them together, getting to know each other. This is the third book in a series. It certainly can be read as a standalone; nonetheless, I do wonder whether having read the other two books would have helped. As it was, the character of Pevensey, when he came in partway through the tale, seemed to have a lot of backstory that it might have been useful to know. But, as I said, a generally enjoyable read despite a few faults, and I did appreciate the clever transposition of medieval history to a Regency setting.