Suitors and Sabotage. Cindy Anstey. Young adult/Historical fiction/Romance. 2018. 336 pages. 3 stars.
“He stole you from me.”
“I was never yours to steal.”
I received an Advanced Readers Copy in exchange for an honest review.
Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.
Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.
But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .
“I have been instructed to see you happy.”
“I would be happy to be left alone.”
This is my first time reading Cindy Anstey’s work and I was genuinely surprised! I learned that Anstey really specializes in stories in a similar setting like Suitors and Sabotage, and I’m anticipating reading more of her work.
To start off, I just want to say that it was easy for me to latch on because the first chapter opens with a dog. I love dogs! To see that the main characters were fond of the furry creature melted my heart.
I was also really intrigued by the premise of the story because there’s nothing more juicy than forbidden love. I was greatly anticipating the tension between all the characters but was rather left disappointed when there was barely anything that physically manifested between them. All the tension was internal and mental, which can easily be explained by the setting. As much as I loved the setting, it did hinder a lot of potential that could have made this book more of a pleasurable experience for me.
Another thing that really irked me was the formal nature of the writing. Sure, at first it was nice to see that the author really went for that immersive experience; however, at some point I got annoyed whenever the characters would use such formal language! It may be the cultural difference given that in this day and age no one in their right mind would say “Come, let us break our fasts” to invite me for a meal, but you get what I mean.
As for the mystery of the “accidents”, I was really surprised by the outcome! I did not expect the culprit at all. My problem with previous mystery books was that I was able to guess who it is, but I was left wondering until the big reveal in Suitors and Sabotage! For that, I applaud the writer.
All in all, I was satisfied, but I wanted more. The plot was great but the middle portions were a bit dragging and had I not been curious enough about who was behind these “accidents”, I would have marked it DNF. 3 stars.