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When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if—she grudgingly admits—passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if—she grudgingly admits—passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and dangerously heady kisses. The very last place Sydney wished to be was in the shadow of the ruins of Pelham Hall, the inherited property that stole everything from him. But as he awaits his old friend, the Duke of Hereford, he finds himself increasingly captivated by the maddeningly lovely and exceptionally odd Amelia. He quickly finds that keeping his ownership of Pelham Hall a secret is as impossible as keeping himself from falling in love with her. But when the Duke of Hereford arrives, Sydney’s ruse is revealed and what started out as a delicate deception has become a love too powerful to ignore. Will they let a lifetime of hurt come between them or can these two lost souls find love and peace in each other?


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When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if—she grudgingly admits—passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if—she grudgingly admits—passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and dangerously heady kisses. The very last place Sydney wished to be was in the shadow of the ruins of Pelham Hall, the inherited property that stole everything from him. But as he awaits his old friend, the Duke of Hereford, he finds himself increasingly captivated by the maddeningly lovely and exceptionally odd Amelia. He quickly finds that keeping his ownership of Pelham Hall a secret is as impossible as keeping himself from falling in love with her. But when the Duke of Hereford arrives, Sydney’s ruse is revealed and what started out as a delicate deception has become a love too powerful to ignore. Will they let a lifetime of hurt come between them or can these two lost souls find love and peace in each other?

30 review for A Delicate Deception

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5 stars rounded up to 4 since I love the author. This was ok. It’s the story of two people finding love and family. Sydney is a grumpy guy who lost his brother in a fire. He is sent a letter from his ex-lover to meet him at the house that burnt down killing his brother and sister in law. Sydney now owns the house but wants nothing to do with it. Amelia we have met in the series before, she is the illegitimate sister of Alistair in book one of the series. She living in a home on the property of 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 since I love the author. This was ok. It’s the story of two people finding love and family. Sydney is a grumpy guy who lost his brother in a fire. He is sent a letter from his ex-lover to meet him at the house that burnt down killing his brother and sister in law. Sydney now owns the house but wants nothing to do with it. Amelia we have met in the series before, she is the illegitimate sister of Alistair in book one of the series. She living in a home on the property of Sydney’s house with her old governess. Amelia has an anxiety disorder and doesn’t like to be around people. The two keep bumping into one another on their walks and start a friendship that quickly escalates. I didn’t feel them falling in love. I generally like this author and her characters who are outside the norm but these two didn’t quite do it for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    So - a bi (or pan?) sexual woman (Amelia) with social anxiety and a bisexual Quaker civil engineer (Sydney) meet randomly while out walking in Derbyshire; complications ensue when each finds out the other has been unreasonably vague about who they are. Also here are his ex-lover/best friend Lex (a duke, who is gay and blind and gets all the best lines) and her friend/ex-governess Georgiana (who might be asexual? maybe aromantic?). Keating, from Unmasked by the Marquess, is here as Amelia’s So - a bi (or pan?) sexual woman (Amelia) with social anxiety and a bisexual Quaker civil engineer (Sydney) meet randomly while out walking in Derbyshire; complications ensue when each finds out the other has been unreasonably vague about who they are. Also here are his ex-lover/best friend Lex (a duke, who is gay and blind and gets all the best lines) and her friend/ex-governess Georgiana (who might be asexual? maybe aromantic?). Keating, from Unmasked by the Marquess, is here as Amelia’s groom/handyman and apparently making the rounds of the local gay men. AND ROBIN POPS UP RIGHT AT THE VERY END. This has to be the queerest historical I’ve ever read - all the straight people are either deceased (Syd’s brother/SIL), in America (his parents), or very minor characters (the vicar and his wife, Lady Stafford, etc). Sebastian seeds in bits from beloved English canon novels (you’ll know them when you read them) and also gives Amelia some really lovely things to say about how we view virginity and the position of children born to unmarried parents. Although I would have loved a few more scenes between Amelia and Syd “falling in love” - I didn’t quite feel them connect like Robin/Alistair and Verity/Ash did. But PLEASE can we have the Perkin Warbeck slash-fic novel? Will read, I promise 😂

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    3.5 stars I had read and enjoyed the previous book in the series and was intrigued by Amelia, so I was excited to see her getting her own story. I loved Amelia and Sydney and all of the secondary characters. She’s a bit anxious, he’s a bit standoffish and they’re both bi. I loved their walks and talks and seeing this logical couple find something a bit out of the ordinary. I’m forever here for Lex and Georgiana and would absolutely love a book for them. Plot wise, it was a bit of a struggle. It 3.5 stars I had read and enjoyed the previous book in the series and was intrigued by Amelia, so I was excited to see her getting her own story. I loved Amelia and Sydney and all of the secondary characters. She’s a bit anxious, he’s a bit standoffish and they’re both bi. I loved their walks and talks and seeing this logical couple find something a bit out of the ordinary. I’m forever here for Lex and Georgiana and would absolutely love a book for them. Plot wise, it was a bit of a struggle. It was slow and meandering and not in a good way. It felt like there were several plot threads added for no reason and the ending was a bit of a disappointment. I realize that it worked for the two of them, but at the same time, I think they deserved something more concrete. Overall, it was Amelia and Sydney that kept me reading and if there are more books in this series, I’ll definitely continue. **Huge thanks to Avon Books for providing the arc free of charge**

  4. 5 out of 5

    b.andherbooks

    I recently finished reading an ARC of Cat Sebastian’s A Delicate Deception which features two disarmingly lovely and grumpy people falling head over heels for each other, slowly but surely, after they keep running into each other on their morning jaunts. Extremely tall Sydney with his stern eyebrows but kissable mouth and reclusive Lady Amelia Allenby living her best life free of the ballrooms and anxieties that plagued her in London society are an absolute treat. I always adore how Cat Sebastian I recently finished reading an ARC of Cat Sebastian’s A Delicate Deception which features two disarmingly lovely and grumpy people falling head over heels for each other, slowly but surely, after they keep running into each other on their morning jaunts. Extremely tall Sydney with his stern eyebrows but kissable mouth and reclusive Lady Amelia Allenby living her best life free of the ballrooms and anxieties that plagued her in London society are an absolute treat. I always adore how Cat Sebastian handles and subverts romance tropes. Lady Amelia's nonchalance about her "deflowering" yet her supreme happiness with being with Sydney was just *chef's kiss* lovely. This story also is absolutely queer, and I loved how the happily ever after worked out for both characters. If you can’t wait for A Delicate Deception, Cat Sebastian has a wonderful back list of amazing titles you can jump in to right away! I reviewed from a free copy downloaded from Edelweiss+

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elodie

    A Delicate Deception The Regency Impostors Book 3 Cat Sebastian https://www.facebook.com/catsebastian... Release date 12/10/2019 Publisher Avon Blurb : When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if—she grudgingly admits—passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon A Delicate Deception The Regency Impostors Book 3 Cat Sebastian https://www.facebook.com/catsebastian... Release date 12/10/2019 Publisher Avon Blurb : When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if—she grudgingly admits—passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and dangerously heady kisses. The very last place Sydney wished to be was in the shadow of the ruins of Pelham Hall, the inherited property that stole everything from him. But as he awaits his old friend, the Duke of Hereford, he finds himself increasingly captivated by the maddeningly lovely and exceptionally odd Amelia. He quickly finds that keeping his ownership of Pelham Hall a secret is as impossible as keeping himself from falling in love with her. But when the Duke of Hereford arrives, Sydney’s ruse is revealed and what started out as a delicate deception has become a love too powerful to ignore. Will they let a lifetime of hurt come between them or can these two lost souls find love and peace in each other? My review : When a woman hiding from society encounters a man running away for his past, do they have future written for them together ... This is my first read by Mrs Cat Sebastian, I have read many praises for her work, I could not past her next release. I confess at first, I was a bit lost, I had to accustom myself to her writing style and also the kind of characters she writes about. They first appear very peculiar with their view of life. I needed some time to understand their weirdness was due to their discomfort among their peers. Then slowly I came to love them with all their flaws, as those same flaws make them even more lovable. Both awkward among society and they each faced it in their own way, she wearing a bland mask to hide her fits of panic until it was too much when he avoided it, turning his back to everything remotely social. As I do not use English in my today’s life, I had need of more time to understand the subtle humour and quips instilled all along this awesome tale. This was not a story with a lot of action, it is more an interior quest to find what they truly feared, longed and needed. A story of how life carries on and people reacts to it. As Amelia goes forward, she is fast to pinpoint what are her expectations, yet she also knows her limitations prevent her to an easy journey. When Sydney tends to fear attachement and go backward, when things become too serious, he is inclined to change of course. He battles with his old demons, so believing he is unworthy of love. Why he always puts distance between him and those he came to care for, why he tried to keep Amelia at arm’s length. He doubts everyone’s bond to him, thus he expects the worst from everyone. Why by misjudging Amelia he created a rift between them. Sure, it was painful to see them hurt by their own misconceptions, yet by having to start all over again, they get an insight of who is really the other. Amelia does not do well with society’s expectations, why she masquerades to hide her true self. She steeled herself to endure this life for years, but now she has set herself free, even if she longs for company, she can’t bear to go back living among her peers. Her borderline personality, oscillating between OCD and agoraphobia, wards her off from life in a city. Smoothly Sydney breaches inside her defense because he is matter of fact genuine, his own insecurities when with people make him straightforward. I loved all the so unconventional protagonists in this story, sure I wrote mostly about Amelia and Sydney but I just loved Georgiana, Lex and Leontine. 5 stars for this wondrous tale of making do with how life can be switched to one’s will when one is very amenable. I was granted an advance copy by the publisher Avon via Edelweiss, I purchased too my own. Here is my true and unbiased opinion. https://www.facebook.com/429830134272...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    The third book in this series has Amelia Allenby retired to the country with her companion Georgiana. Amelia suffers from social anxiety and at times considers the quiet countryside where she currently is not secluded enough. The two ladies are renting a cottage on the lands of Pelham Hall, a manor house that was partially destroyed in a tragic fire that killed the Duke of Hereford's sister and her husband. The Duke of Hereford, "Lex" has invited his friend, brother-in-law and former lover The third book in this series has Amelia Allenby retired to the country with her companion Georgiana. Amelia suffers from social anxiety and at times considers the quiet countryside where she currently is not secluded enough. The two ladies are renting a cottage on the lands of Pelham Hall, a manor house that was partially destroyed in a tragic fire that killed the Duke of Hereford's sister and her husband. The Duke of Hereford, "Lex" has invited his friend, brother-in-law and former lover Sydney Goddard to meet him at Pelham Hall, but ends up being delayed on the road. Sydney and Amelia meet each other while out walking and strike up a friendship which turns into something more. This is great, on par with the second book, but I felt it was a little let down by the conclusion (I won't spoil it, and I think it makes sense, but I think other actions would have made better sense). I also think the story ends rather abruptly, particularly when I feel that the accommodation that Amelia and Sydney come to has plenty of story left in it. While the central romance here is a traditional hetero one, the story itself is very queer-friendly. Both our leads are bi and Amelia's friend Georgiana is ace (although obviously without the terminology for it). Georgiana and Lex are one of the best things about this story. It's also worth pointing out that Amelia's anxiety is treated with respect and it's interesting seeing a mental health issue like this dealt with in this historical setting in a positive way.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Esme Brett

    I really liked this. There are so many feminist truth bombs dropped, Sydney is sensitive to the dangers women face, and Amelia is unapologetic about thinking the hero is lickable and wanting to do the bang bang with him. And bang bang she does. Cat Sebastian writes wonderful sexual tension. Reading Amelia and Sydney’s first ~nearly pash~ scene feels like ... I don’t know, someone lightly tickling your weenus? Pleasant but feather light? I’m going to call sexual tension weenus tickle writing from I really liked this. There are so many feminist truth bombs dropped, Sydney is sensitive to the dangers women face, and Amelia is unapologetic about thinking the hero is lickable and wanting to do the bang bang with him. And bang bang she does. Cat Sebastian writes wonderful sexual tension. Reading Amelia and Sydney’s first ~nearly pash~ scene feels like ... I don’t know, someone lightly tickling your weenus? Pleasant but feather light? I’m going to call sexual tension weenus tickle writing from now on ... Anyway, I won’t give away spoilers, but this is one of the most feminist first time sex scenes ever. Writers should go through this post-coitus dialogue with a highlighter and a notepad. Amelia and Sydney are bi and there’s an asexual secondary character too. It was wonderful to have this representation, I would like more of this in mass market. Shoutout to Lex, my new all time favourite side character. The reason this isn’t a five for me is that I found the plot a little slow and at times the couple’s logic for not being together felt a little thin. All in all though, a fun read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Norah Gibbons

    I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. A Delicate Deception by Cat Sebastian is the third book in her Regency Impostors series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I highly recommend the first two books in the series and Amelia Allenby does appear in A Duke in Disguise and reading it will help you understand her character just a bit better. Amelia Allenby the illegitimate sister of the Marquess of Pembroke spent her life living behind a series of I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. A Delicate Deception by Cat Sebastian is the third book in her Regency Impostors series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I highly recommend the first two books in the series and Amelia Allenby does appear in A Duke in Disguise and reading it will help you understand her character just a bit better. Amelia Allenby the illegitimate sister of the Marquess of Pembroke spent her life living behind a series of masks in order to be accepted by society until one day she realized that she just couldn’t do it anymore and she walked off the dance floor of a ballroom and left her partner standing there. This book begins a year after that incident and she’s spent that time living quietly in a rented cottage in Derbyshire with just the company of her former governess Georgiana Russell. When she starts running into a very large man on her morning walks she is taken aback because her route and the timing of it were planned in order to avoid running to to people and this giant is disturbing both her solitude and equilibrium. Sydney Goddard designer of steam engines and railways has come to Derbyshire at the request of his friend and former lover the Duke of Hereford. He is still deep in mourning for his brother and sister-in-law who was the Duke’s sister and the secrets that he keeps from Amelia have more to do with his reluctance to accept their deaths than to deceiver her. I devoured this book in one day and then went back the next day and read it again because I enjoyed it so much. Sparkling banter, and Cat Sebastian’s ability to create characters that one cares about and can relate to make this book one I am delighted to recommend reading. Medium Steam. Publishing Date December 10, 2019 #Edelweissplus #ADelicateDeception #CatSebastian #HistoricalRomance #RegencyImpostersSeries #AvonRomance #HarperCollinsCanada #AvonImpulse #bookstagram

  9. 4 out of 5

    Abbey Thompson

    Another awesome read from Cat Sebastian! I think this might be my favorite so far. I love that the "silly" historical romance genre can be a vehicle for things that aren't silly after all. I wasn't surpised by the queer themes/characters in this book, as it's a common theme in Sebastian's works, but what was a pleasant surpise was the - for lack of a better term - neurodivergent characteristics of certain characters, and the sensitivity in which those themes were handled... or to be more Another awesome read from Cat Sebastian! I think this might be my favorite so far. I love that the "silly" historical romance genre can be a vehicle for things that aren't silly after all. I wasn't surpised by the queer themes/characters in this book, as it's a common theme in Sebastian's works, but what was a pleasant surpise was the - for lack of a better term - neurodivergent characteristics of certain characters, and the sensitivity in which those themes were handled... or to be more accurate, NOT handled, as in it wasn't that big a deal because we all work and think in different ways and have different preferences and tolerances. I love how things that the characters themselves often saw as flaws were presented as just part of who they are, and things to be loved as part of the whole person and not things for a person to love them in spite of. That really resonated with me, as someone who struggles with my own mental health.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elley Murray

    Ohhh, Amelia and Sydney... They're so grumpy and stand-offish - I love it. Also, Lex may well be my favorite character in this book, and I need him to be the star of his own book, stat. Cat Sebastian does a great job of bringing to life characters with a range of sexualities and genders. I appreciate the resolution for this bi couple and the challenging of what a m/f pairing's happily every after "should" look like. I also applaud the handling of Amelia's (what I think is an) anxiety disorder. Ohhh, Amelia and Sydney... They're so grumpy and stand-offish - I love it. Also, Lex may well be my favorite character in this book, and I need him to be the star of his own book, stat. Cat Sebastian does a great job of bringing to life characters with a range of sexualities and genders. I appreciate the resolution for this bi couple and the challenging of what a m/f pairing's happily every after "should" look like. I also applaud the handling of Amelia's (what I think is an) anxiety disorder. And now that I'm thinking about it, this book has some pretty great rep that is woven in so seamlessly as just part of who these characters are. You know how some books try to just shoe-horn in "diverse" characters who are more just flat caricatures? That's not this book. You've got a bisexual Quaker MC, a bisexual (or pan maybe?) MC with an anxiety disorder, a gay bling best friend, an ace best friend, a non-binary former MC cameo... And really this book is about found families and building a community of people who love you for exactly who you are as much as it's about a romance between Amelia and Sydney. This is the third book in the Regency Imposters series, but it can be read as a stand alone. Keaton is a side character from the first book, Unmasked by the Marquess, and reprises his role as a side character in this book. A few other characters from Unmasked also make a brief appearance in this one. An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own. Like this review? Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Elley the Book Otter

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cardyn Brooks

    Amelia and Sydney's love story is warm and tenderhearted in its nuanced portrayal of unconventional, healthy romantic and familial arrangements. Some of my favorite lines from pages 40, 155, and 261 focus on an individual's right to make choices that really work for them instead of satisfying society's mercurial, often illogical rules. Cameos of characters from the first two Regency Imposters stories add even more charm.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Niki

    Amelia Allenby is not cut out for London society, or even any form of social interaction at all. She's escaped to a quiet cottage in the countryside of Derbyshire with only the company of Georgiana, her former governess turned companion. The last thing she wants is the company of a large and rather attractive land surveyor on her daily walk. Lecturing him about property boundaries doesn't scare him off, however, and the two form an unlikely friendship of sorts, walking together and sharing Amelia Allenby is not cut out for London society, or even any form of social interaction at all. She's escaped to a quiet cottage in the countryside of Derbyshire with only the company of Georgiana, her former governess turned companion. The last thing she wants is the company of a large and rather attractive land surveyor on her daily walk. Lecturing him about property boundaries doesn't scare him off, however, and the two form an unlikely friendship of sorts, walking together and sharing increasing intimacies. Engineer Sydney Goddard has no desire to be back at Pelham Hall, the half-ruined house he unhappily inherited after his brother's death, but while he's stuck there awaiting the arrival of his friend, the Duke of Hereford, he grows increasingly closer to Amelia. He soon finds himself falling in love with her, but when she finds out he's actually the owner of Pelhma Hall and her landlord, she's rather furious at his deception. Neither Sydney nor Amelia is skilled with admitting to or communicating feelings and their painful pasts may prevent the powerful love growing between them from developing and finally giving them both peace. I appreciated the unconventional characters in this story. I'm a sucker for a brooding hero and Sydney certainly fit the bill with his sadness, guilt, and feeling unworthy of love. I can definitely sympathize with Amelia's social anxiety, at least to a point, but after she'd grown more comfortable with Sydney, she was still rather harsh, judgmental and overly dramatic towards him, even when he managed some difficult apologizing, and that was a bit of a turn off for me. I loved the secondary characters and the writing quality was quite good, but the plot was rather lacking. It was highly character driven, which is fine, but I never felt much tension or spark between Amelia and Sydney. One minute she was being fairly awful to him and the next they were having a silly banter and he was falling in love with her. I honestly felt there was more tension between Sydney and Lex than between him and Amelia. Amelia and Sydney spent most of the story debating their worries with inner monologues and not doing much real communicating, which got a bit repetitive after awhile, and also didn't really seem to match up with how much they grew and how many of their issues they overcame; I expected a big heart to heart for them at the end and it never really came. I did love the silly banter between them, even if it did feel rather few and far between. The sense of family being who you make it, regardless of convention, is what bumped this up for me. However, I would've liked something more concrete for Amelia and Sydney, as well as more interaction between Sydney and Leontine, especially since he's her true guardian, rather than Lex. This felt a bit like happy for now not HEA and that may be realistic, but I like to know that everything is at least going well in romanceland, so that was slightly less than satisfying for me. I found this to be an enjoyable read, just not all that romantic. Nonetheless, I did enjoy this book and will be looking forward to further installments in the series. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Cat posted on Twitter that in this book, everyone is queer and has an anxiety disorder. I didn’t even know that was a thing I wanted but it 100% worked. Such a sweet, quiet book and I loved it. 4.5 stars. Cat posted on Twitter that in this book, everyone is queer and has an anxiety disorder. I didn’t even know that was a thing I wanted but it 100% worked. ❤️ Such a sweet, quiet book and I loved it. 4.5 stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Letty

    You have your bi characters, your ace characters, your physically and mentally disabled characters, and a whopping dose of found family. Plus a dog.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    Amelia’s social anxiety has sent her to the countryside, as she’s no longer able to tolerate London’s gossipy ballrooms. On her daily walks she meets Sydney, who lies by omission pretty much from the first about who he is and what he’s doing there. He’s actually a major property owner, but he’s uncomfortable claiming it because he inherited after a tragedy. Amelia is at first annoyed by Sydney, as she’s escaped to the country to be alone, but he keeps doing annoying things like showing up to Amelia’s social anxiety has sent her to the countryside, as she’s no longer able to tolerate London’s gossipy ballrooms. On her daily walks she meets Sydney, who lies by omission pretty much from the first about who he is and what he’s doing there. He’s actually a major property owner, but he’s uncomfortable claiming it because he inherited after a tragedy. Amelia is at first annoyed by Sydney, as she’s escaped to the country to be alone, but he keeps doing annoying things like showing up to meet her, being pleasant, and melting her defenses. I love how Cat Sebastian’s characters find ways to be together that fit their circumstances and personalities--she doesn’t try to force them into prescriptive archetypal boxes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erica Chilson

    I received a free copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads 4 Stars. On the fence between 3 and 4 stars, so I rounded up to 4 because of how much I enjoy the author and the debut in the series. Spoiler-Free Review A Delicate Deception is the third installment of the Regency Imposter series. While in a series, I don't believe it would be difficult to read out of order, without any confusion. There is a connection between books 1 and 3, the hero (Alistair) in book 1 is the brother to I received a free copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads 4 Stars. On the fence between 3 and 4 stars, so I rounded up to 4 because of how much I enjoy the author and the debut in the series. Spoiler-Free Review A Delicate Deception is the third installment of the Regency Imposter series. While in a series, I don't believe it would be difficult to read out of order, without any confusion. There is a connection between books 1 and 3, the hero (Alistair) in book 1 is the brother to the heroine (Amelia) in book 3, where we get glimpses of Amelia and Sydney in past books, but it doesn't truly affect reading this installment. Amelia has anxiety, a bit of an introvert, and socially awkward, so obviously I felt the heroine was my spirit animal. I enjoyed reading about her in the previous installment, but there was something missing that I couldn't quite put a finger on during her narration. I enjoyed Amelia more as a side character than as the main character. Not to be insulting, as I did enjoy the character, I felt as if she didn't have enough story in her to support an entire novel herself. Equally awkward, Sydney and Amelia were an adorable couple, developing a friendship of sorts, built on many run-ins where they slowly got to know one another. The connection was organic, cerebral, with deep conversations meant to form a bond. No spark. No passion. The romance aspect fell flat, because it felt more like a friendship than a relationship. While I felt their relationship authentic, I wasn't necessarily entertained by it, not as much as I thought I would when intrigued by both of them in past installments. Attempting to be vague to avoid spoilers, this is where I'm on the fence between 3 and 4 stars: there are several plot threads that crop up during A Delicate Deception, but no overall plot from start to finish. Many seem to come out of nowhere, then fizzle out as quickly as they appeared, with more taking over the story. Several just felt unnecessary, muddling the story. It felt distracted, not focused, slowing the pacing down and removing my desire to know what happens next. It just felt like there wasn't enough meat to the story to support the page length, so new threads were introduced. At the halfway point, I felt the novel resolved, then it transformed from plot-driven to character-driven with no overall plot propelling it forward. Cat Sebastian is one of my go-to authors in historical romance, eager to jump at the chance to read the newest installments. This is a case where the novel wasn't my cup of tea. That happens. Every book can't be a hit with every reader, especially with such a large backlist. This novel just felt as if it was missing the spark that engaged me, a crawling pace with less exciting characters and a meandering storyline.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Hearts Romance

    3.5 rounded to 4 stars I found this book to be perfectly pleasant. It's easy to read, low stakes, and low angst. My mom calls these kinds of stories "slice of life:" You spend time with some enjoyable characters, but nothing much happens plot-wise. For me personally, the intensity was a little too low. It's the kind of story I could read while doing other things; meaning, I could put it down and walk away without feeling any particular urgency to get back to it. The books is driven by the main ⭐3.5 rounded to 4 stars I found this book to be perfectly pleasant. It's easy to read, low stakes, and low angst. My mom calls these kinds of stories "slice of life:" You spend time with some enjoyable characters, but nothing much happens plot-wise. For me personally, the intensity was a little too low. It's the kind of story I could read while doing other things; meaning, I could put it down and walk away without feeling any particular urgency to get back to it. The books is driven by the main characters' internal dialogue and growth process. Sydney and Amelia both struggle with anxiety, though they are triggered and manifest differently. I really appreciate the author's depiction of each character's struggle with belonging and self-worth. I liked how their issues weren't fixed by anything that happened in the story. You get the definite sense that they know it's going to be a continuing process and the best thing they can do is understand and support the other. Now, although I personally prefer slightly higher emotional stakes in my romances, I want to acknowledge something about the easy-breeziness of A Delicate Deception when it comes to representation of queer relationships. Too often in genre fiction marginalized characters are expected to have to work their asses off to earn their happily ever after. No one expects that of cishet couples. It is really nice to see a queer couple whose main relationship challenge is their own internal issues and not society as a whole. They just...get to have a happy ending like anyone else, because (shocker) they ARE like anyone else. I think there are a lot of readers who will very much enjoy how easy this book is and how little emotional work it asks of them. For me personally, it didn't check enough of my boxes to rank as highly as some of this author's other books.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Smitten

    Originally posted on Smitten by Books Reviews blog 3.5 Stars Cat Sebastian continues to demonstrate how she brings fresh storylines and diversity infusion to the historical romance genre. A Delicate Deception is no exception. The story starts out a bit slow, I relay didn’t become invested until about 30% in, the beginning dragged and it’s a slow burn/build kind of romance. Except, this isn’t the same old London tale. With a country setting and fun characters, including a dog with the tendency Originally posted on Smitten by Books Reviews blog 3.5 Stars Cat Sebastian continues to demonstrate how she brings fresh storylines and diversity infusion to the historical romance genre. A Delicate Deception is no exception. The story starts out a bit slow, I relay didn’t become invested until about 30% in, the beginning dragged and it’s a slow burn/build kind of romance. Except, this isn’t the same old London tale. With a country setting and fun characters, including a dog with the tendency to think her owners are sheep to protect… it’s filled with humor that quickly infects the spirit with joy. Our hero, Sydney Goddard is an interesting character. Not an aristocrat but one of the working class, raised a Quaker, and… he’s taken some very simple issues, compounded the, over the years and believes that people aren’t capable of loving him. So, it’s easier to not have relationships because of it. Oh Sydney, the mighty with the false believes will fall hard and he does for the clever and so much fun Amelia. Amelia was mentioned in the last book in this series, the illegitimate daughter of a social climber and a Marquess. She’s an author with a desire to steer far away from high society and feelings or emotions because if people know you have them they can hurt you. One of the best parts about this character was that I ever knew how she would react and enjoyed how she seemed to the opposite of what any other “lady” in a historical romance would do. For two people trying to avoid entanglements, Amelia and Sydney do a rather poor job of it. One thing I loved though was the unique storytelling. I love The risks Avon and Cat Sebastian take with her story’s from diverse characters to a slightly different format of how the romance unfolds- it’s both a bit familiar for lovers of Avon Historical Romances, and something brand new. I am excited to see where this goes in future books. So don’t expect things to unfold as the same old same old. Overall, not my favorite Cat Sebastian, but her writing is quickly becoming a must have. For readers wanting more inclusion this book is a must read. For those who enjoy Eva Leigh and Tessa Dare – this is like a mash-up. ~ Landra

  19. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if she grudgingly admits passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and dangerously heady kisses. This is the third book in the series but the first I’ve read. Whilst it took me a little while to ‘ When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if she grudgingly admits passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and dangerously heady kisses. This is the third book in the series but the first I’ve read. Whilst it took me a little while to ‘get into’ the book once I’d worked out everyone I thoroughly enjoyed it & will now be going to read the first two books. A well written, well paced book with engaging characters who had depth. I really liked Amelia & Sydney , their road to their HEA was very entertaining My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read

  20. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    A Delicate Deception is a tender romance and an exploration of grief, morality, and love. Also, the hero's mother (absent but very much present) reminds me of my own mother, right down to faith, more than I can say.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Abandoned at 7% and returned my ebook so the next person in line could have it... Sebastian seems to have really phoned it in on this one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    DNF early on. I don't remember Amelia being so annoying in earlier books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Amelia is basically regency-era me, so this was quite a delightful little romance to read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    Charming! I continue to happily drop everything whenever Cat Sebastian has a new book and I never regret it. Review to come.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I love Cat Sebastian--both as a human and an author. This is my favorite of hers so far. It's so lovely and warm and endearing and affirming and smart and funny and ugh. I just love it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Westfall

    This is 5 stars for the characters, and an unfortunate 2.5 for story. I cried through the whole thing; the representation of people like dear friends and I, was wonderous.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    This book flew by to the point where I actually walked away assuming I'd read a novella, and was shocked to see the listed page count here. This was both good and not-so-good—it was highly enjoyable, but fell into common pitfalls of novellas despite actually being a normal length. The drop-in point at the beginning was confusing. After two chapters, I had to start it over because I was confused about who all the characters who were being alluded to in the protagonists' POVs were. Once I got it, This book flew by to the point where I actually walked away assuming I'd read a novella, and was shocked to see the listed page count here. This was both good and not-so-good⁠—it was highly enjoyable, but fell into common pitfalls of novellas despite actually being a normal length. The drop-in point at the beginning was confusing. After two chapters, I had to start it over because I was confused about who all the characters who were being alluded to in the protagonists' POVs were. Once I got it, I did fall in love with the protags and appreciated the way Sebastian handled their mental health struggles alongside their romance. That part was undoubtedly the best part of the book, and seeing these two characters bolster each other—not coddling the hero's feelings of inadequacy, not softening the heroine's agoraphobia, but challenging and healing each other in other, important ways—makes their romance sing. But then an adopted child is introduced (about halfway through). I actually love the unexpected ward trope in romance, but this girl felt hugely underdeveloped, mostly serving as a prop for cute moments of levity and excuses for jumping the romance plot forward. Since I was assuming this was a novella, I thought it was fine not to fit in moments developing her relationship with the (many) other characters and implying they take place off-screen, but in 300+ pages, something should have been done. And I know this is heteronormative as fuck, but with so much angst about illegitimate children firing the narrative, I was shocked that our protags never even discussed the possibility of having any when they solidified their relationship. I respect that Cat wanted to present a partnership with a HEA that (view spoiler)[does not end in marriage, but I ended up assuming they would have to get married eventually when their pull out method inevitably fails them. (hide spoiler)] Ultimately, not Sebastian's best, but still fun.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Didi

    Amelia Allenby stole my attention for the small appearance she made in the previous two books of Sebastian “Regency Imposters” series that I was burning with curiosity what would happen when she got her own story. An illegitimate daughter (and sister) of a marquees who cowrote graphically sensual novel and wrote fictional historical novel in early 19th century England. I imagined it would be quite a fête. But it turned out, I wasn’t wholly right. I didn’t enjoy A DELICATE DECEPTION as much of Amelia Allenby stole my attention for the small appearance she made in the previous two books of Sebastian “Regency Imposters” series that I was burning with curiosity what would happen when she got her own story. An illegitimate daughter (and sister) of a marquees who cowrote graphically sensual novel and wrote fictional historical novel in early 19th century England. I imagined it would be quite a fête. But it turned out, I wasn’t wholly right. I didn’t enjoy A DELICATE DECEPTION as much of its predecessors. The flow of the story felt choppy and I found it hard to sympathize with Amelia here; she was disapproving, quick to judge, and often overly dramatic in dealing with things. Sydney Goddard was no better really, with his going around avoiding facing the truth - though I somewhat felt sorry for the reason he did so. Not much (though I gave credit to him for his effort of apologizing and trying to make things right. That was a plus to me). I get that this is an unconventional romance between two awkward people, but the sparks just wasn’t there between these two. Also, it felt to me like the tale had no conclusion besides ...go with the flow? I was hoping for more than those kind of ending!! Honestly, there’s plenty of room for our unlikely hero/heroine to grow into. Why stopping there. That said, what I loved about Sebastian’s characters (in this series) were how accepting they were that love is love no matter what gender or race or background one’s love interest was. And I don’t mean only about the lead characters, but among their supporting roles, too. In fact, in A DELICATE DECEPTION, to me it’s those supporting characters that stole the spotlight, namely the duke - who didn’t let tragedy and disability dragged him down, (John) Keating, and let’s not forget the dogs! If it weren’t for them I would be very very crossed indeed and idk - throw a tantrum, maybe. Thank gads for them! Copy of this book is kindly given by the author/publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Sweet, with nice banter later on, though primarily from a secondary character. Rep: main ship both bisexual, secondary ship is aro and gay (obviously non-romantic but enjoyable nonetheless).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gaele

    This review is a LONG time coming (apologies) but I’ve now read it twice and like it more with each read. If you don’t know Cat Sebastian’s work – be prepared to revel in the sexual tension, freedoms and intrigue as people who are discovering (or allowing) their personal attractions to come to fruition. In this story, we have Amelia and and Sydney: both self-identify as bisexual, even as they aren’t open with it to everyone. Amelia is prone to panic attacks and agoraphobia, so being away from This review is a LONG time coming (apologies) but I’ve now read it twice and like it more with each read. If you don’t know Cat Sebastian’s work – be prepared to revel in the sexual tension, freedoms and intrigue as people who are discovering (or allowing) their personal attractions to come to fruition. In this story, we have Amelia and and Sydney: both self-identify as bisexual, even as they aren’t open with it to everyone. Amelia is prone to panic attacks and agoraphobia, so being away from crowds and the London scene suits her perfectly well. Sydney is hiding something from everyone, as he’s just discovered he’s inherited a title after his brother and sister-in-law’s deaths, and is in the country at the request of his best friend. Encountering one another while rambling about the countryside is a perfect introduction – and as you’ll soon discover, they have several friends and connections in common: many of whom we’ve met and enjoyed in earlier books in this series. But, this is a story of Syd and Amelia – and how they come to be a ‘couple’, if in the more than slightly unconventional manner of many of this author’s couples. Things to look for in a Sebastian story are the sparkling and witty banter, the romantic gestures that are always much more meaningful to characters who are often ‘outside’ the norm, the delicate handling of difficult issues and subjects as well as the interconnected villages that grow in a way that feels organic and natural, as all of the characters seem to find one another through connections of family, issue or work. And such is the same with Amelia and Syd, after several different interactions that slowly blossomed into friendship before love. This isn’t a story that is loaded with action or adventure, more a character and issue-driven plot that meanders through as both characters have things to work through above and beyond getting to know one another and their mutual dislike of society’s constraints. While not my favorite in this series, each new couple that is introduced give a chance to check back in with earlier characters, see their lives and loves moving forward, and we also see how each new character (and couple) fits into this little bubble of a village that encompasses the characters – gay, straight, bi, troubled or questioning without question and with plenty of acceptance and time for plenty of laughs and support. Sebastian takes what one may have thought unusual or out of our ‘expected’ norms for relationships and connections and shown us all that love and attraction are simply just that – and require acceptance, honesty, friendship and trust to truly work – no matter what. Everything else is simply a way to ‘identify’ that attraction / relationship – not a definition of it. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed

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