Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

Suitors and Sabotage


Goodreads: Suitors and Sabotage
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: April 17, 2018

Official Summary

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. . .

Star Divider


Minor spoiler warning. I’m not revealing anything that’s not pretty obvious, but if you like to read books completely blind, you should probably avoid this review.

I enjoyed Cindy Anstey’s first two novels, Love, Lies and Spies and Duels and Deception as light romantic reads, so I was excited to pick up her third Regency-inspired novel (and requested my library purchase it just so I could read it!). Unfortunately, I think Suitors and Sabotage is significantly Anstey’s weakest work, despite the implication that it would be both a mystery and a romance; my primary emotion while reading it was boredom.

I haven’t checked if Suitors and Sabotage actually is longer than Anstey’s other novels, but it certainly feels like it. The plot is centered around the pending engagement of Imogene Chively and Ernest Steeple. The problem: When Ernest comes to visit Miss Chively and her family to cement the relationship before the proposal, he brings his charming younger brother Ben, who starts to steal some hearts. The second problem: Someone seems to have it out for Ben by playing dangerous pranks.

This sounds as if it should be interesting, but it’s not. There are also allusions to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which should make the book deep, but it doesn’t. I just felt awkward through most of the book, feeling really bad for Ernest as everyone fell in love with his brother, which made it difficult for me to find the book romantic. Additionally, Imogene and Ben spend the whole book trying to not be attracted to each other, because Ernest is supposed to be wooing Imogene, so there’s not a lot of room for romance.

The mystery part of the novel also falls short and simply doesn’t play as large a role as one might expect.

Finally, the characterization is lackluster. Imogene, Ben, Ernest, and Imogene’s friend Emily are well-developed, but the side characters seem like tropes, cardboard cutouts filling a role. I wasn’t even sure Imogene’s older brother and his friend Jake were going to have actual dialogue for a large portion of the book, or if they were just going to be incurable pranksters flitting about in the background. (And, honestly, I did not buy that these people were nineteen! The younger protagonists were more mature!)

Suitors and Sabotage just didn’t work for me. I like Anstey’s other books, so I’ll keep an open mind about future novels, but I can’t recommend this one.

2 star review Briana


8 thoughts on “Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

  1. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Ugh. I’m so sorry that this book fell flat for you, Briana! I can understand how this book might contain a lack of romance, which would be frustrating for a regency romance!

    Do you think your experience with Anstey’s other works influenced your opinion more negatively? Comparisons often make more extreme review ratings for me!


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yeah, it’s just really hard to be invested when the two people in the romance are trying really hard not to think about romance because the girl is supposed to be getting engaged to a different guy….

      I don’t think so! I like Anstey’s other books, but I don’t necessarily *love* them, so I don’t think I had really, really high expectations for this one that got dashed. It just seems objectively not as good to me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        There’s nothing wrong with that. There are quite a few authors who I like to read because they write fun, escapist novels, but I never would say I love their work. It’s nice to have that option— even if I am underwhelmed with a novel.


  2. jilljemmett says:

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like this story. I enjoyed it, but I haven’t read any of her other books, so I couldn’t compare it to them. I’m planning on reading her other books soon, so I’m curious as to how I’ll like them compared to this one.


  3. Jheelam says:

    I must have been living under a rock ’cause I learned about regency genre quite recently. Could you recommend some not-so-lengthy regency romance books for starters? 😀


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