To Swoon and To Spar: Book Review

Regency romance has always had a special place in my heart thanks to the master, Jane Austen. Getting lost in the dance of tension, proper etiquette, and history is one of my favorite ways to escape in a book. Add humor and wit to the equation, and you have a winning combination. Luckily, the Regency Vows series from Martha Waters brings historical fiction lovers the best of both worlds! To Swoon and To Spar is a fun foray into a historical romance that most readers will enjoy!

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To Swoon and To Spar

Quick Look

  • Regency Romance⁣
  • marriage of convenience⁣ trope
  • witty and feminist⁣
  • 4th in the Regency Vows series
  • open-door scenes
  • spice level: 🌶🌶/5⁣
  • great on audio!

Pub Date: April 11, 2023⁣

Special thanks to @atriabooks for sending me this gifted copy this Spring! I'm oh-so-sorry I didn't read it sooner. ⁣

Publisher's Synopsis

Viscount Penvale has been working for years to buy back his ancestral home, Trethwick Abbey, from his estranged uncle. And so he’s thrilled when his uncle announces that he is ready to sell but with one major caveat—Penvale must marry his uncle’s ward, Jane Spencer.

When the two meet in London, neither is terribly impressed. Penvale finds Jane headstrong and sharp-tongued. Jane finds him cold and aloof. Nevertheless, they agree to a marriage in name only and return to the estate. There, Jane enlists her housekeeper for a scheme: to stage a haunting so that Penvale will return to London, leaving her to do as she pleases at Trethwick Abbey. But Penvale is not as easily scared as his uncle and as their time together increases, Jane realizes that she might not mind her husband’s company all that much.

My Review

It's official, y'all. I'm obsessed with Regency Romance novels. First, it was Sophie Irwin. And now it’s Martha Waters. Even though I'd never read any of the other books in the series, I bought the entire Regency Vows series after finishing this book. It was that good! Her writing is so charming that I was immediately drawn into this world and fell head over heels for the characters.

Jane is a brooding FMC with everything to gain in the arranged marriage. She plans to secure her freedom as soon as possible, and nothing will stop her from inconveniencing her new husband. Penvale is naive and hyper-focused on the one thing in life that means most to him: owning his childhood home. Frustratingly, marriage is the only way he can get it. What could possibly go wrong?!?

The fun antics in this one are charming and add levity to this romance, which I always appreciate. There's banter, witty barbs, and several LOL moments. And while the door is ajar, intimate scenes are tasteful but still steamy!

I did find it a little hard to keep the characters straight at times, as it was clear they had been introduced in previous books, but I managed to still enjoy it as a stand-alone. I've now read the entire series and can honestly say this was one of my favorites in the series.

My Rating

This was my first encounter with Martha Waters, and I LOVED every second of it! This book had me chuckling and flipping pages fast and furious. I'm not a huge romance reader, but these charming Regency-era romances marry history and romance in the best way. Fresh and fun, To Swoon and To Spar is definitely one you want to pick up!

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About Carlie

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