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A Duel for Christmas (Pevensey Mysteries Book 3) Kindle Edition
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Maud, Lady Worlington, knows very well the loneliness of being wed to an older man. Though she finds Lord Tilbury appealing, she is eight years his senior. She knows that will never do. He would surely tire of her and their marriage would become the same loveless sham she had endured with her late husband. When her stepson arrives with news that is sure to put an end to any marriage prospects for her, Maud does not know where to turn. And then someone is murdered. The stakes just got higher.
A duel for Christmas is the third book starring sleuth Jake Pevensy, Bow Street investigator. He is an appealing character who makes me want to read the other books in the series. However, he does not make an appearance until halfway through the story. The first half of the book is dedicated to the romance while the scene is being set for the murder. As such, the romance is not an aside, but a satisfyingly integral part of the story.
This is my first book by Rosanne E. Lortz and I must say I adore the way she turns a phrase. Her vocabulary and cadence are authentic and exquisite. One thinks of Georgette Heyer when reading her words. The mystery is robust enough to make one unsure of who did it or why, but the plum of this book is the romance between Maud and Geoffrey. The fact that the characters and some of the circumstances are based on the medieval Stephen and Maud makes me like it all the more. Rosanne E. Lortz is a new favorite!
First, I really enjoyed how Lortz took a historical element and event and brought into life in a Regency novel, so I could enjoy the historical event. I didn't know about the past event, so it was nice to see it come to life in this story. Lortz has a good handle on the mechanics of writing a novel. Her use of Deep Point of View is well-done. I enjoyed how she dove into the characters emotions and thoughts, allowing me to understand and empathize with the characters.
As for the spiritual element of the novel, there really isn't any. The characters don't attend church or pray to God for help when they are struggling. It is a clean read occurring in the Regency era. There is moments of drunkenness, gambling, and some high passion, but nothing that any reader should turn away their nose at.
The characters, in my opinion, were pretty static characters. The characters I met at the beginning is the same characters at the end of the novel. No one changed for the better. A couple of emotions were spiked and heighted toward a member of the opposite sex. Some characters had things occur to them that I didn't see at the beginning of the novel but came to light by the end of the novel.
The plot didn't wow me like a mystery should. The first fifty-five percent of the novel sets up the characters and allowing me to see who they are internally and externally while the twelve days of Christmas pass. All of the characters, but one, are introduced in the first half of the book. The mystery happens about fifty-seven percent into the book and then enters the Detective the series is named after. After a character is found dead, the story picks up as the detective hunts for clues and tries to find out who killed the poor person. I just like more action from the beginning and to carry throughout the entire novel.
Overall, A Duel for Christmas by Rosanne E. Lortz is an interesting take on a historical event and placed into a Regency setting. I wish the characters had more of a transformation and the mystery occurred earlier in the novel. But fans of Joanna Davidson Politano, Julie Klassen, and Sarah E. Ladd might really enjoy this novel.
I received a complimentary copy of A Duel for Christmas by Rosanne E. Lortz through the Celebrate Lit Tours, but the opinions stated are all my own.