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About A Duel for Christmas

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.

Review of A Duel for Christmas

Rosanne E. Lortz is a new-to-me author and a delightful new find! A Duel For Christmas is a Regency era novel peppered with 12th century characters. Sort of.

As I was reading the book, I gave no thought to the sinking of the White Ship. Instead, I got wrapped up in the story of Geoffrey and Maud, their families and their 19th century challenges. It wasn’t until I read the author’s notes at the end of the story that I thought about the White Ship again. This clever adoption and subsequent re-homing of 12th century figures into the 19th century setting in a work of fiction is unique and inspired. And kind of cool!

A Duel for Christmas is both a mystery and a romance. The third in the Pevensey Mysteries series, it features the character Jacob Pevensey, a Bow Street runner charged with keeping order and solving crimes. Pevensey is a persistent and creative detective, using his mind and his friends to get the facts and the truth. Pevensey’s presence in the book is pervasive even if the main characters are actually Geoffrey and Maud.

Geoffrey and Maud suffer from an age difference. By suffer I mean that Maud, at twenty-six, is older than Geoffrey by five years. This age difference comes up often in the story, but Geoffrey is a mature oldest child so hopefully, Maud will get over it. Another other obstacle is the fact that Maud is a widow and her adult stepson is making all sorts of problems for her. The final obstacle for the couple is the death of someone who Geoffrey was not so keen on. So naturally, Geoffrey is a suspect.  My hope that the couple would overcome all these obstacles kept my interest in the tale.  Reading it was pure pleasure and it was over far too soon!

All the events take place during the twelve days of Christmas. So depending on what day you are on, you can tell how close you are to a solved murder and a realization of the couple in love.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Duel for Christmas and if you like historical romance and mystery, you will too. You don’t have to wait until the holiday season to enjoy it.

Book Review Buzz provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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