To Have and To Hoax: Book Review

I'm deep in my Regency Romance deep dive, finding Martha Waters's Regency Vows series the perfect combination of romance and silly fun. Each of her books offers readers hilarious escapades and a quirky cast of characters. To Have and To Hoax is a fun introduction to the series. Discover why this series should be your next historical romance series.

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To Have and To Hoax

Quick Look

  • Regency Romance
  • miscommunication & lovers-to-enemies tropes
  • full cast of characters
  • open-door scenes
  • spice level 🌶️🌶️🌶️/5
  • book 1 of the Regency Vows series
  • great on audio!

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

Thanks @atriabooks for the gifted galley which I loved so much I instantly bought a forever copy!

Publisher's Synopsis

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

My Review

This is my third Regency Vows novel, and I’m now fully convinced of the power of Martha Waters! These books are pure perfection. I’ve not read them in order, but I still find them easy to follow. The stories from the books build on each other uniquely, as they seem to be happening almost simultaneously or shortly before or after each other. And this one delivers the angst and frustration you expect from a miscommunication trope romance.

I enjoyed the wit and charm of the various characters, something the author seems to have mastered. And once again, the Regency-era rules are center-stage, elevating the hijinks and creating some LOL moments. The romance was very believable, and how the story progresses is highly satisfying if you know what I mean. 😉

This was a little more open-door than the other two Regency Vows novels I’ve read, which isn’t always my favorite. It wasn’t a huge turnoff, but it was noticeable. Miscommunication isn’t my favorite device, so that was also a little bit much at times. But the charming cast of characters and intertwined stories more than made up for any faults.

My Rating

Regency romance lovers who enjoy a bit of comedy in their romance will love this To Have and To Hoax. While it's not quite as strong as others in the series, it's a great introduction to this wickedly fun series. I've read them all and highly recommend reading them in order if possible. And if you find this one relies heavily on the miscommunication trope, know that the rest of the series doesn't feature miscommunication as the main trope. 

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About Carlie

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