To Have and to Hoax
by Martha Waters
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Source: NetgalleyIn 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?
With charm, wit, and heart in spades, To Have and To Hoax is a fresh and eminently entertaining romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.
I am a huge historical romance fan and this cover definitely caught my eye. This sounded like it was going to be an adorable romance between a bickering married couple and I was excited to read their story.
When this started, I thought the romance was so cute. Something had happened four years ago, one year into their marriage, that caused Violet and James to hate each other and barely speak to each other. When Violet gets a letter that James is hurt and might never wake up, she freaks out and jumps to be by his side. When he recovers quite quickly, they're both mad at each other for their reactions, which sparks the need to toy with each other for the rest of the book. Their banter was cute, but I do wish that we knew what caused their rift a bit earlier on. It was some big mystery as to why they both felt betrayed and we didn't get the reasoning until well into the story.
As James and Violet continue to play games with each other, I definitely became annoyed by how much they refused to talk to each other. If they just had a conversation four years ago on the night they argued, this whole book would have been avoided. The rest of this book only continues because they just won't have an honest conversation with one another. If you do not like the miscommunication trope, you are going to be annoyed reading this. At the end of the book, everything wrapped up a little too neatly as both characters had their confrontations with people who have wronged them and it felt too forced for me.
While this was a cute story in the beginning, the middle and the end of this story more annoyed me than not and I just wanted the characters to talk already. Sadly, this one wasn't as endearing as I wanted it to be.