To Have and to Hoax
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? 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.

To Have and to Hoax Details

TitleTo Have and to Hoax
Author
ReleaseApr 7th, 2020
PublisherAtria Books
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Fiction

To Have and to Hoax Review

  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Right off the bat, this looks like it would be really cute and funny!The title, the description, and the cover ALL really sucked me in. Oh, haha! These two are going to badger each other with old-timey pranks, and won't that be so different and hilarious?!I was ready to fall in love with these guys.Eh.And maybe that's why I was disappointed. The expectations were a little too high?Regardless, this one was just ok for me. It wasn't funny. There wasn't any snappy dialogue or witty back and forth. Right off the bat, this looks like it would be really cute and funny!The title, the description, and the cover ALL really sucked me in. Oh, haha! These two are going to badger each other with old-timey pranks, and won't that be so different and hilarious?!I was ready to fall in love with these guys.Eh.And maybe that's why I was disappointed. The expectations were a little too high?Regardless, this one was just ok for me. It wasn't funny. There wasn't any snappy dialogue or witty back and forth. In fact, the heroine was kind of stupid. Violet decides to make James think she has consumption as part of a ridiculous revenge scheme after he falls off a horse. She gets the help of an aristocrat who has become an actor. <--go with it, I know it makes zero sense.He's supposed to pretend he's her doctor, but he leaves her husband with his real card so the guy knows what is going on. Her idiotic plan ticks off her husband, so the entire book is one long unfunny joke of her coughing and him not at all fooled by it, and getting more pissed by the day. By the time she figures out that he knows what she's up to, it is way past time and not at all humorous.The backstory is that after a forced marriage they fell very much in love. Then after a couple of blissful years, there was some secret falling out. And you spend the rest of the book wondering what happened. When you finally do find out what happened, you're highly annoyed with James AND Violet - mainly because her side of the story could have been easily verified by several people.It could have all been fixed with a conversation. WITH ANYONE.He's just...bah. There's a misunderstanding and then there's that over-the-top, soap opera level of mistrust. It doesn't make sense.And the back and forth between these two at the end was very much ridiculous. She wants him to come back, then he comes back, then he doesn't tell her everything, then she tells him to leave and not come back till he knows that he loves/trusts her, but he already loves/trusts her - now he's gotta proooooove it. Etc., etc., etc.. I mean, this isn't bad. I thought it was a solid 3 star story.But it's not funny and there's no hoaxing happening.Oh, I nearly forgot! But I would definitely NOT recommend the audio version. The male narrator's voice sounds like a parody of a snobby British voice. There's absolutely no way I could imagine this man as attractive in my head when all I'm seeing is Austin Powers. Anais Inara Chase - NarratorJoel Froomkin - Narrator
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  • Olive
    January 1, 1970
    Check out my review on booktube: https://youtu.be/9_fy6emL4Zg Check out my review on booktube: https://youtu.be/9_fy6emL4Zg
  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    This one is fun, entertaining, quick, hilarious, feel-good reading! I know so well that: The characters were so obnoxious, immature, spoiled brats acting like underage, sabotaging their relationship over and over and at least hundred times, I want to bang their heads into each other and scream their faces to kiss and make up! But I loved their story, the hot chemistry, witty dialogues, intriguing pacing. So their childish manners can be tolerable! The couple’s silent treatment ends with faking s This one is fun, entertaining, quick, hilarious, feel-good reading! I know so well that: The characters were so obnoxious, immature, spoiled brats acting like underage, sabotaging their relationship over and over and at least hundred times, I want to bang their heads into each other and scream their faces to kiss and make up! But I loved their story, the hot chemistry, witty dialogues, intriguing pacing. So their childish manners can be tolerable! The couple’s silent treatment ends with faking sickness games and yes, it was quite fun but the thing I didn’t understand why the author made us too long to learn how they broke up. At least I read more than half of the book but I was still in the dark. I wanted to know how they ruined everything and their reasoning. I didn’t want to pick a side because I know both of the parties have great potential to make meaningless mistakes and at some I wanted to yell and drop the book because of way too much drama! You know what I keep reading because it is still attention worthy, making me joyful and never ending flirting waltz of the couple and amazing side characters are the best things about this book defeated the negative effects it created on my mind. So my 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. I haven’t read a historical rom-com for so long. It was interesting, exhilarating journey for me even though characters pissed me hell of more than several times. Special thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for sharing this witty ARC with me in exchange my honest review.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
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  • Emer (A Little Haze)
    January 1, 1970
    This book was such a LOL from start to finish! I’ve never read a full historical romance novel before this so I don’t know if that is exactly what this is... but whatever it is is a whole lot of fun!I’m used to contemporary romances. And I’m used to Austen. And this was a glorious mash up of the two! It’s like taking the best traits and tropes of a contemporary romantic comedy; so great big dollops of sass and witty banter between two fabulously funny leads. And then transporting all of that con This book was such a LOL from start to finish! I’ve never read a full historical romance novel before this so I don’t know if that is exactly what this is... but whatever it is is a whole lot of fun!I’m used to contemporary romances. And I’m used to Austen. And this was a glorious mash up of the two! It’s like taking the best traits and tropes of a contemporary romantic comedy; so great big dollops of sass and witty banter between two fabulously funny leads. And then transporting all of that contemporary goodness back to Regency England complete with all the stifling manners and propriety of the era which just heightens the fizzing sexual tension and adds an extra enjoyable dynamic to a fabulously ridiculous comedic storyline. The book follows the exploits of two married characters, Violet and James, who have been enemies rather than lovers for the last four years of their five year marriage... all because they fell out over a silly argument. Like when *the argument* is revealed you’ll just roll your eyes so hard and go LOL you pair of muppets! Anyway, Violet decides to teach her husband James a lesson by feigning illness... consumption obvs because ^^^logic^^^!!!But James finds out she’s faking... And then it’s just an hilarious game of trying to get the other to fold first by ramping up the stakes to try and make each other unbearably jealous with bonkers scheme after bonkers scheme!!!Is it ridiculous? Well yes. Utterly over the top? Sure. But ohhhhhh so enjoyable!I thoroughly laughed my way through this read and heartily relished the playful and teasing nature of the plot.It was possibly a little bit too long and repetitive... Personally I thought it should have wrapped up around the 90% mark as the quarrelling between Violet and James had begun to get tedious and the last obstacle to happy ever after was unnecessary and overdone in my opinion; I thought that one character shouldered a little too much of the blame for *the argument* over the other in the end. To me they were both complicit in the reasons for and the idiocy of the whole sorry mess!!However, the lead characters of Violet and James, though perpetually juvenile in their actions, were both immensely charismatic and had chemistry to burn so that somewhat countered the repetitive nature of the plot developments. I should warn potential readers to prepare for stupidly stubborn characters though. Like there’s stubborn for us regular people and then there’s Violet and James level of stubborn! Off the Richter scale are those two!!!I did feel that the supporting characters each added their own unique charm to the main plot line. In fact I would not be surprised if there were spin off books focusing on some of the side characters and their potential romances e.g. Diana, Emily, Jeremy. If you want a book to escape from the real world for a bit then this is the perfect read. It’s got likeable characters. A very accessible style of narrative and just the perfect amount of steaminess. It’s like a good lemon mousse; light and airy with just the perfect amount of acerbic wit to balance it out. Recommended. *An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog Publishing: 7 April 2020, Headline Eternal
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  • Mara
    January 1, 1970
    Oh man, I'm so excited to see more books from this author come out! The writing in this book is truly a joy- grade A banter, lovely turns of phrase, wonderful little observations throughout. I also just loved the characters, and I appreciate that this has almost a YA type theme underlying it-- separation from parents' and their expectations to forge their own identities & sense of self. I offer this comparison with trepidation, but this book gave me very strong Tessa Dare vibes- I will be eager Oh man, I'm so excited to see more books from this author come out! The writing in this book is truly a joy- grade A banter, lovely turns of phrase, wonderful little observations throughout. I also just loved the characters, and I appreciate that this has almost a YA type theme underlying it-- separation from parents' and their expectations to forge their own identities & sense of self. I offer this comparison with trepidation, but this book gave me very strong Tessa Dare vibes- I will be eager to see how the author continues to develop. Perhaps I've found a new favorite historical romcom source?This is a situation similar to how I felt with The Bromance Book Club last year- very excited to try more in a series, but the particular trope/plot combos in this book are not quite my full catnip, so I couldn't fully love this the way I might with a different premise. Marriage in peril, even when approached with as light a touch as this one was, are just a bit stressful to meStill, I'm 100% checking for Martha Waters going forward, & would recommend this to anyone who is interested in it
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  • rayne ♥
    January 1, 1970
    Diana sagged. “Morals,” she said simply. “So tiresome.” To Have and to Hoax is witty, smart and charming as a whole, filled to the brim with revenge schemes and intriguing characters that made this a page-turner for me. The premise is intriguing, it’s about a married couple who are plagued by misunderstandings, which eventually leads to a cruel (and hilarious) game that threatens to tear them apart.This book is filled with wonderful writing that flows perfectly, and characters that feel so re Diana sagged. “Morals,” she said simply. “So tiresome.” To Have and to Hoax is witty, smart and charming as a whole, filled to the brim with revenge schemes and intriguing characters that made this a page-turner for me. The premise is intriguing, it’s about a married couple who are plagued by misunderstandings, which eventually leads to a cruel (and hilarious) game that threatens to tear them apart.This book is filled with wonderful writing that flows perfectly, and characters that feel so real it’s marvellous. I loved the witty banter in this book, I found myself laughing and smiling a whole lot while reading this. I find that most books that brand themselves as romantic comedies usually come off as forced, but certainly not with this book. It was genuinely funny and I highlighted an unhealthy amount of passages while reading (some that may have been a page-long or so).The characters that graced the pages were just so wonderful and I haven’t felt this amused by dialogue alone since reading The Raven Boys. The characters felt very real and I loved learning more about them and their backgrounds. Overall, I highly reccomend this novel. It’s engaging, funny, and delivers a punch. I’m hoping the author may bless me with a sequel including any one of the side characters. Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for providing me with a review copy. All opinions are my own. instagram | blog | goodreads
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  • Chris C - A Midlife Wife
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the story but the game playing really got to be too much. Plus I hated that James had to be groveling when she was waaaay more involved in the crap than he. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This book sounded like a great deal of fun and I was excited to get into it. It started out in a fabulous way and I just loved the two of them together. I was sure they were going to be a wonderful pair!However, sooner than later, it turned into a grudge fest and the games began. In many aspects this book frustrated I liked the story but the game playing really got to be too much. Plus I hated that James had to be groveling when she was waaaay more involved in the crap than he. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This book sounded like a great deal of fun and I was excited to get into it. It started out in a fabulous way and I just loved the two of them together. I was sure they were going to be a wonderful pair!However, sooner than later, it turned into a grudge fest and the games began. In many aspects this book frustrated me. Although it was fun and tongue in cheek in many ways, when you find out that it had been going on for 4 out of the 5 years they had been married, I was actually sad they had wasted such a beautiful time in their marriage.The supporting friends were a great addition to the story and each had their hand in the mess along with calling out the duo in their dumb, immature games. The parents… ugh is all I have to say.Most of the story is dedicated to different ways to mess with each other and I really did not love the fact that James was made out to be the bad guy when she clearly had a huge part in the entire issue.Don’t get me wrong, overall the story is a wild and wacky story that is loaded with sexual tension as they really do love each other immensely. I wish we could have gotten more of the loving and less of the game playing. A nice balance would have brought this to a 5 star rating.Fun, witty, and a fabulous first novel. But seriously – get a different cover that is not so boring.* Copy received for review considerationfull review - https://amidlifewife.com/to-have-and-...
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  • Blackjack
    January 1, 1970
    Some smooth writing and likeable secondary characters couldn't save this book from itself, and that's even while I smiled every time I encountered the nostalgic reference to the Friends' episode, "he knew that she knew that he knew." The premise here of a young married couple pranking and one-upping each other in an effort to get even for perceived neglect was initially amusing but grew very tiresome, and pretty quickly. I went into this one open-minded having just had an unexpected blast readin Some smooth writing and likeable secondary characters couldn't save this book from itself, and that's even while I smiled every time I encountered the nostalgic reference to the Friends' episode, "he knew that she knew that he knew." The premise here of a young married couple pranking and one-upping each other in an effort to get even for perceived neglect was initially amusing but grew very tiresome, and pretty quickly. I went into this one open-minded having just had an unexpected blast reading Sarah Hogle's bittersweet but utterly romantic You Deserve Each Other, but with each chapter I become more and more frustrated. Note to readers: very little changes in this book until 94% and so be prepared for a story that spends nearly the entire novel mired in misunderstandings and self-righteousness.In the prologue, Violet and James fall in love instantly at a ball and subsequently marry. Fast forward four years later as they reflect back on a fractious and rocky start in an otherwise passionate union, they know just when the relationship went off its track, and that one moment comes to define four years of cold war - yes, Four Years. For four years, we are meant to believe that the two live in the same house and do not speak. I obviously had trouble reconciling a four-year silent roommate situation, but once I found out the reason why they stopped speaking, I lost much of my interest in the book. Part of the book is about understanding the mental harm both characters experienced growing up with negligent and even emotionally abusive parents and how such experiences challenged their ability to form healthy and mature adult relationships rooted in trust. So, there's that. It's not a theme I'm crazy about and one that feels quite over done in romances, but it's meant to explain the actions two immature people play on the one person in their life they should love and trust.The other major aspect of this novel focuses on a series of pranks and retributions Violet and James enact to slap back at each other. At times it seems as if they are just striking out, but at other times, they seem aware that they want the attention of the other, even if it's negative attention. Some of the pranks are amusing but there were moments when I was reaching to find my sense of humor and struggling. For instance, James's open flirtation with another woman in society to make his wife jealous was a particularly difficult scene. Violet feels humiliated and most everyone else feels either uncomfortable or titillated by the scandal they are witnessing. Several key people later try to explain separately to James that it wasn't the thing to humiliate one's wife in public or to risk harming the reputation of another woman. This entire episode in the book reminds me why I love the concept of the hero in romances and why I disliked James. Most romance heroes stop short of hurting innocent bystanders for selfish reasons, and most heroes don't want to humiliate the woman they love in front of others. Furthermore, most heroes have a degree of emotional intelligence that clarifies their actions. That brings me to a somewhat bigger problem with this book, which is that even though Violet and James behave equally stupidly and immaturely at times, James is an especially difficult character to reform. He's wrong nearly all the time and there is not parity in their grievances. The misunderstanding that separates them for Four Years is mainly his fault. I felt sympathy at times for Violet, therefore, and I can't honestly say that I'm entirely satisfied with a HEA for this couple.The book is filled with some appealing secondary characters and there are clear signs of where some future romances are heading. I'm giving it a generous 3 stars because of appealing secondary characters. However, I initially thought I would want to read future books from Waters but given in the end how little I enjoyed this one, it's unlikely now.
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    Welcome, welcome, right this way! Step right up to witness endless, inane bickering between adult characters with the emotional maturity of middle schoolers. Violet and James Auden were happily married until they weren’t. After an argument about a year into their marriage (that goes unexplained until about halfway through the book), they barely speak to one another for the next four years. That’s where our story truly begins, and what follows is an endless game of emotional chess between the spo Welcome, welcome, right this way! Step right up to witness endless, inane bickering between adult characters with the emotional maturity of middle schoolers. Violet and James Auden were happily married until they weren’t. After an argument about a year into their marriage (that goes unexplained until about halfway through the book), they barely speak to one another for the next four years. That’s where our story truly begins, and what follows is an endless game of emotional chess between the spouses. Except that they both play chess like the proverbial kid who eats the pieces.Violet and her friends cook up schemes to inflict upon James, all designed to somehow simultaneously piss him off and win him back. The ladies fancy themselves “outspoken,” “progressive,” and all sorts of other buzzwords that should indicate a desire to break with convention. Unfortunately, they mostly come off as desperate and juvenile.We’re supposed to believe that these women are admirably unconventional and ahead of their time because they speak their minds and claim they don’t want men dictating their lives. Yet in all that speaking of the minds, the only thing they ever talk about is men. While I admire Violet’s desire not to be cowed by convention that would suggest her presence in the world should be largely ornamental, most of her boldness takes the form of childish, foot-stomping tantrums, shrill declarations of revenge, and attempts at manipulation. Violet claims she doesn’t want to be ruled by a man, but men are the only things she ever seems focus her attention on. It’s a cute attempt at protofeminism, but the result is exactly the opposite of that. The heroine fancies herself empowered and as defying convention, but really she’s just louder about her conventional thinking. She thinks herself a rogue of the status quo, but she’s simply immature and undisciplined. Though he too has plenty of flaws and also lacks emotional maturity, her husband is in many ways better at conveying an attitude of progressiveness than his wife. And while he can be thoughtless and clearly has a paralyzing fear of honest communication, in the end he’s really a pretty alright dude. Which is great and all, except that Violet was supposed to be the hero of this story. James is an emotional toddler almost as much as she is, but at least he mostly maintains a sense of decency. And yet, the really tough part of this book to swallow is how careless Violet and James are about how their petty desire to constantly one-up each other consistently disregards the feelings of other people. Sophie and West (who are, not coincidentally, the only truly decent people in the book) get the worst of it, but it comes back on the other friends of the couple as well, all of whom are (whatever their flaws may be) far better humans than the characters in the central relationship. Certainly, they don’t mean to hurt others, but their selfishness (especially Violet’s) has that result just the same.This is not to say that the reader will hate Violet. I didn’t. But I did find her obnoxious more often than not, and her behavior is cringeworthy most of the time. Did she capital “L” Learn A Lesson? Of course she did, because narrative structure dictates she must. But in the end, it isn’t enough. This wasn’t a bad idea for a book, but the intent and the product are a complete mismatch. At the very least it should have passed muster as a light, cute romance, but the tone is too grating and the characters too emotionally stunted for that to play satisfactorily either. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    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 ju 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.
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  • natalia
    January 1, 1970
    dumbass couples in 1800s be hitting different
  • jess ✨
    January 1, 1970
    To Have and to Hoax would be the kind of book that in normal circumstances would annoy me beyond reason. Main characters acting in a very childish way, refusing to sit down and talk even though this would solve things so quickly (but there would also not be a book to read, of course) but this was not the case.The main reason I enjoyed and had such a good time with this book was that was incredibly self-aware. Both main characters were extremely immature, especially once they started their "duel" To Have and to Hoax would be the kind of book that in normal circumstances would annoy me beyond reason. Main characters acting in a very childish way, refusing to sit down and talk even though this would solve things so quickly (but there would also not be a book to read, of course) but this was not the case.The main reason I enjoyed and had such a good time with this book was that was incredibly self-aware. Both main characters were extremely immature, especially once they started their "duel", as Violet herself named, one trying to one up the other and come out on top, of whom would piss off their spouse the most. But the difference between this book and the usual lack of communication in romance is that it didn't ever not go unchallenged. The main characters would be constantly called out about their lack of communication, childish behavior and petty fights by everyone surrounding them. Their friends made sure to let them know often just how they were acting in a very immature way and as a married couple they should sit down and talk it out. Their behavior, as hilarious as it was more often than not was shown as something that deep down wasn't okay and this made the whole difference.Another factor in making this story so good was that it had such genuinely funny and witty bickering. Violet and James had so much chemistry even whilst they were trying to one up the other, the sexual tension whenever they would argue was off the charts. You just wanted to sit them down and tell them how stupid they were being and also just tell them to kiss already!This wasn't perfect though. At some point the drama became too much, dragging out and being boring. And it does make you wonder how long their relationship would truly last if after one huge fight it means 4 years of ignoring each other, but here's for hoping. This didn't take the enjoyment of the story as a whole but I think it could do with a tiny bit of less drama at a certain point.I'm going to guess this will eventually be a series, seeing as there were three different couples being set up during this one. Would be nice to read about the side characters, which were interesting and with their own personalities, no one felt like were the exact same.    I had a great time and laughed out loud often reading this. Recommend it for a fun, quick and delightful read.I was provided an ARC via Edelweiss Plus in exchange of an honest review.
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  • ABookwormWithWine
    January 1, 1970
    Song/s the book brought to mind: Dreams by The CranberriesIf you are looking for a lighthearted historical romance that reads like a romcom, then To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters is the debut novel for you!This is my first foray into historical romance and I quite enjoyed it! The bickering between our couple, James and Violet, was very entertaining and this book is laugh out loud funny. I loved Violet's sarcasm and quick wit, and I was laughing before page 8. I was having a hard time concent Song/s the book brought to mind: Dreams by The CranberriesIf you are looking for a lighthearted historical romance that reads like a romcom, then To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters is the debut novel for you!This is my first foray into historical romance and I quite enjoyed it! The bickering between our couple, James and Violet, was very entertaining and this book is laugh out loud funny. I loved Violet's sarcasm and quick wit, and I was laughing before page 8. I was having a hard time concentrating on reading but To Have and to Hoax was exactly what I needed to reset and refocus. I had completely forgotten it is set in the 1800s, so it was a fun surprise when I realized that again. I haven't read much at all set in the time period, and I liked learning a little bit more about it.It has to be said that I also love the cover of the book. It is very simple which I love, and I like the nod to a lot of the contemporary romance covers out right now. Looking at the cover you may not know it is a historical romance and I love that about it. I think the purple cover would make it a great addition to anyone's bookshelf.To Have and to Hoax had plenty of sexual tension and a couple steamy scenes but they were definitely on the tame side which I like. There are so many great characters in here and I would love to see another book focusing on any or all of them.The only reason I set my rating at a 4 instead of a 5 is because I thought the game playing went on a little too long and the book could have been shorter. Overall though To Have and to Hoax was a great debut novel and it had 2 elements I really love - it felt like a quick read (and probably will be for most readers), and it made me laugh more times than I can count. I will definitely read any other books Waters writes!Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book, all opinions are my own.My full blog tour post can be seen at: https://abookwormwithwine.wordpress.c...
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  • Lily Herman
    January 1, 1970
    Me: *has a million books to read in like 27 different genres*Also me: *picks up 83rd historical romance this week*I definitely need to broaden my horizons here, but that can wait for another day. Martha Waters' To Have and to Hoax was a super cute and breezy historical rom-com, and I really enjoyed every second of it. I'm a huge fan of second-chance love, particularly with married couples, so obviously this book was the perfect pick.I'm not exactly sure if I believe that a relatively simple argu Me: *has a million books to read in like 27 different genres*Also me: *picks up 83rd historical romance this week*I definitely need to broaden my horizons here, but that can wait for another day. Martha Waters' To Have and to Hoax was a super cute and breezy historical rom-com, and I really enjoyed every second of it. I'm a huge fan of second-chance love, particularly with married couples, so obviously this book was the perfect pick.I'm not exactly sure if I believe that a relatively simple argument led to four years of marital estrangement, but I was willing to go along with it because the banter in this book was so good. Things got a little repetitive towards the end, but I had fun regardless.If you need some escapism right about now, To Have and to Hoax is a great option!
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  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    I thought for sure that I would love this one, but while the premise is excellent, the execution left me frustrated. If you don't like books where the two main characters cannot communicate and could resolve the issue with an honest conversation, you'll likely be frustrated too.Violet and James met, fell in love, and married very quickly. After a blissful first year of marriage, they get into a quite stupid argument where James believes that Violet had manipulated him into marriage and Violet ge I thought for sure that I would love this one, but while the premise is excellent, the execution left me frustrated. If you don't like books where the two main characters cannot communicate and could resolve the issue with an honest conversation, you'll likely be frustrated too.Violet and James met, fell in love, and married very quickly. After a blissful first year of marriage, they get into a quite stupid argument where James believes that Violet had manipulated him into marriage and Violet gets angry because of James' fixation on proving himself to his father. They do not talk or resolve the issue for four years, which seemed a bit excessive to me. When James falls from his horse, a friend sends Violet a note implying that James might die, and when Violet rushes to James and finds him alive and well, she decides to get revenge on James by pretending (view spoiler)[to have consumption (hide spoiler)]. Both James and Violet get into a game of trying to outdo one another, which brings them closer than they have been in years.Quite frankly, both James and Violet annoyed me. How can you go four years without talking? One conversation could have resolved their issues, and they wasted four years being mad and stupid. Also, Violet's anger and her reaction were inexcusable. It is not okay to joke about (view spoiler)[having a terminal illness (hide spoiler)]. I thought the jokes would be lighthearted and funny, but Violet took it too far. There were funny moments, yes, but it wasn't enough to redeem how juvenile all the characters were.
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  • shre ♡
    January 1, 1970
    omg another second chance romance with the mc’s manipulating and pranking each other? we are feasting this month.
  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    1812, In Regency England Lady Violet Grey is 18 years old “with a respectable fortune and unimpeachable bloodline” and quite curious in nature. Warned by her mother that her curiosity would only ruin her.It seems as her ruining process starts with Jeremy Overington, Marquess of Willingham and “notorious rakehell.” Before she knows, his mouth is covering hers. Then over the Marquess’ shoulder, she sees the most handsome man she’d ever seen. In “a shaft of light,” she recognizes the handsome face 1812, In Regency England Lady Violet Grey is 18 years old “with a respectable fortune and unimpeachable bloodline” and quite curious in nature. Warned by her mother that her curiosity would only ruin her.It seems as her ruining process starts with Jeremy Overington, Marquess of Willingham and “notorious rakehell.” Before she knows, his mouth is covering hers. Then over the Marquess’ shoulder, she sees the most handsome man she’d ever seen. In “a shaft of light,” she recognizes the handsome face to belong to Lord James Audley, the second son of the Duke of Dovington.1817, Violet Audley has been married for 5 years and estranged from her husband for 4 years. Her consolation are her two friends, Diana and Emily. While having tea with her friends, Violet receives a message informing her of her husband’s fall from a horse.Afterwards, Violet with her friends plot different scenarios to attract Violet’s husband back to her.I knew this was going to be a frivolous read and I picked this book for its humor. The prose and humor are superb. This part deserves 5 stars. However, the plotting and the game between husband and wife get tiring. After a while, it’s like – come on, enough is enough. I understand we’re dealing with aristocrats, who have plenty of time for such games, but still I couldn’t take it after a while. The plot gets 3 stars. And I think this book would do much better as a novella.So how do you rate phenomenal prose and humor, but annoying plot? Compromise is 4 stars.Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    Entertaining and witty. Martha Waters as written an engaging laugh out loud historical romcom. Lately I’ve been all about the romcom and this one had the unique twist of also being a regency romance. Lord James and Lady Violet are in an unhappy marriage that they cannot get out of. When the couple met there was such a spark between them, but they have not spoken a word to one another for the past two years. When Violet receives news that James has been thrown from a horse she rushes to his side, Entertaining and witty. Martha Waters as written an engaging laugh out loud historical romcom. Lately I’ve been all about the romcom and this one had the unique twist of also being a regency romance. Lord James and Lady Violet are in an unhappy marriage that they cannot get out of. When the couple met there was such a spark between them, but they have not spoken a word to one another for the past two years. When Violet receives news that James has been thrown from a horse she rushes to his side, just to find out that he is just fine. Violet is livid and this sets off a chain of trickery and mind games between the couple. Fake illnesses and phony mistresses. Would this couple ever find their way back to one another? Violet and James were simultaneously enchanting and insufferable. The banter between them was both humorous and tedious. I liked James and Violet and could see that they were meant for each other they were both very selfish, entitled, and immature. At some point I was so frustrated with them and I didn’t even know what it was that tore these two apart in the first place. One of my only complaints with this book was I would’ve probably appreciated knowing what the conflict was a little earlier in the story. But in spite of that this really was a story filled with laughs and Whimzy.This book in emojis 🏰 🐎 👨🏼‍⚕️ *** Big thank you to Atria for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
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  • Susan's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.Back I went to Regency England in this enjoyable romp, where Violet and James, with the help of their friends, find their way back to each other after 4 years of estrangement. James believes Violet plotted to trap him into marriage, along with her mother and his father, in order to secure an heir for the Dukedom, should his older brother West fail to do so.Violet is a headstrong, intelli My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.Back I went to Regency England in this enjoyable romp, where Violet and James, with the help of their friends, find their way back to each other after 4 years of estrangement. James believes Violet plotted to trap him into marriage, along with her mother and his father, in order to secure an heir for the Dukedom, should his older brother West fail to do so.Violet is a headstrong, intelligent girl, and while she is head over heels in love with her dashing young husband, she wants it all: his love and his trust. James has always felt that he was never important in his father's eyes. The sad truth is that his father has no real affection for his children. They are merely a means to continue the family name. His gift to James on his marriage to Violet of a country manor and profitable stables came with strings attached - of course!Violet is outraged by James lack of faith in her love for him, and angered as well by her husband's constant struggles to gain his father's approval. After only one year of marriage, they have a massive argument and relations between them become frigid over the next four years. There appears to be no hope to end the estrangement, as both are too proud to breach the gap between them. Fortunately (?), James is involved in a riding accident and Violet to rushes to James' side, thinking that he may be dying. She realizes that she still loves him, but nothing has really changed. James works long hours to prove to his father that he is worthy of his love.As the story progresses, both Violet and James employ subterfuge to win each other back. The banter between them was entertaining and the ending was more than sweet. All's well that ends well!I grew up reading Georgette Heyer's novels and I was an avid fan. I rarely enjoyed the current day imitations of her writing style. In fact, I rarely read Regency novels once I had real all of Georgette Heyer;s books. However, so many fellow NetGalley reviewers kept praising this debut novel - and rightly so: it is very well written, witty and entertaining. But Georgette Heyer still sits atop her throne as the Empress of Women's fiction, unchallenged, in my mind. Martha Waters lured me out of my voluntary retirement where Regency novels are concerned. It was an enjoyable interlude, but I realize that I prefer novels set in this century. I rate this entertaining, well-written romp a 3.80 out of 5.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    '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 '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?'___________________________3.5 stars, rounded up to four stars.To Have and to Hoax is Martha Walters' debut novel and is a fun blend of historical fiction and romantic comedy.James and Violet met five years ago on a balcony during a ball. Married shortly there after, theirs was a love match. Only one year was spent in happily wedded bliss though, until a misunderstanding and the resulting fight left them living as worse than strangers. After four years of silence and resentment, a tumble from a horse leads them into an intense battle of wills and attempting to teach the other a lesson. A unique variation of the enemy to lovers storyline, I found this book to be fun and the banter was amusing and ridiculous in equal measure.I really felt for Violet in this story, James jumped to conclusions from the offset and forced them into 4 years of misery for no real reason. His slights were imagined, whereas hers were legitimate. Four years wasted. That's not to say that she doesn't carry any of the blame here because she certainly could have done more to aid their relationship. Both of them were qeuite immature.At about the 75% point their feud became a bit tedious for me though. Every time I thought I had finally read to the point where they were going to come to some kind of understanding or properly talk things out there would be another misunderstanding or some source of conflict between them that would bring them right back to the power struggle and fighting. It also takes a long time for us to learn the actual cause of the rift between the two which is probably for the best because I wouldn't have found it a strong enough reason to be invested in all their back and forth for the entirety of the book. I was curious to learn the cause of their fight and that kept me invested. Had I not been looking forward to finding the cause, I probably would have lost my patience with their antics.I do recommend this book if you're looking for a light-hearted historical romance, but be forewarned that the game between them stretches on a bit. I am assuming this is going to be turning into a series based on the way things were left with the other members of their friend group and I would continue with the series to see how things turn out for them._____I would like to thank NetGalley and Atria Books for sharing an eARC of To Have and to Hoax by Martha Walters with me for reviewing purposes. This is my honest review.
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  • Rachel McMillan
    January 1, 1970
    What a freaking delight this book is. Every little typical Regency prototype move from the billions of other books I have read in this time period is turned on its ear. We meet James and Violet when she is caught in a compromising position at one of the ton's balls during her first season. Their chemistry is instantaneous but the circumstances of their meet-cute are not...But more on that...Madly in love (lust) they marry in haste--- for one year of this marriage they were blissfully happy .... What a freaking delight this book is. Every little typical Regency prototype move from the billions of other books I have read in this time period is turned on its ear. We meet James and Violet when she is caught in a compromising position at one of the ton's balls during her first season. Their chemistry is instantaneous but the circumstances of their meet-cute are not...But more on that...Madly in love (lust) they marry in haste--- for one year of this marriage they were blissfully happy .... fast forward four years later and they can barely stand to be in the same room as each other given a Big Misunderstanding.When word is sent to Violet that James has been thrown off his horse, she is confronted with the possibility of his death and their failed attempts at reconciliation. When James is fine and well, Violet interprets the act as a malicious one and starts her own string of hoaxes: including the employ of a fake doctor and a diagnosis of consumption.If missed opportunities and failure to communicate drive you nuts... well then this will annoy you frantically BUT that is the whole point: Waters is nuanced and fun and poking jest at the genre she is so competently writing. Her voice is splendid and fresh, her infuriating couple are so fireworks-and-flint made for each other that even their spats read like the most detailed make-out-scene. One in a trillion authors could pull this off: reverently paying homage to and yet mocking the very undercurrents of the conventions she is promenading in lovely display.And yet she makes us fall in love with this frustrating lot and root for them at every turn. This freaking, wonderful, annoying, beguiling romp of a book! Heart-clutch love here, friends! They're in love with each other and they know it and you know it and the author knows it-- but they're also stubborn as stubborn soulmates can be.An absolute high confection dish of a tale iced with brilliant descriptions and layered with sumptuous wit and dialogue.I highly recommend this and will be reading Martha Waters for the rest of time.
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  • Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
    January 1, 1970
    And to think I almost didn't read this book. I have rarely ever had a publisher reach out to me via e-mail with a widget for a book that I didn't already request or show interest in. As I was going through my g-mail last night I stumbled across an e-mail from a person in marketing from Atria and saw they were giving me the chance to read this book. I kind of grumbled to myself at first because well, I'm always in way over my head with ARCs to read but THANK GOD I decided to read the blurb. This And to think I almost didn't read this book. I have rarely ever had a publisher reach out to me via e-mail with a widget for a book that I didn't already request or show interest in. As I was going through my g-mail last night I stumbled across an e-mail from a person in marketing from Atria and saw they were giving me the chance to read this book. I kind of grumbled to myself at first because well, I'm always in way over my head with ARCs to read but THANK GOD I decided to read the blurb. This cover is....not my favorite...and I tend to judge books by my cover even though by now I should know better. THE BLURB THO YOU GUYS. I am not a person who reads historical romances. I don't know why, obviously, since I loved this book but it's just not been a thing that has interested me in the past. Again, thank God for the blurb. It piqued my interest IMMEDIATELY. I mean like, go read it yourselves. How can you not be intrigued???!?! A second chance romance with kind of a love to hate to love element thrown in??!? Something about it sounded very appealing last night.We get a prologue of how these two meet...and of course it starts out with possible ~Ruination~, a balcony scene, and quite an unexpected proposal. Immediately sold. If there's one thing I will NEVER, EVER get enough of, it's a quality fucking balcony scene with illicit behavior and witty banter. Fast forward five years. Violet and James, after a whirlwind proposal, marriage, and first year madly in love, have become estranged. They barely see each other, speak to each other, or touch for that matter. After receiving a letter than James has been in a riding accident and is possibly in a coma, Violet rushes to go see him. The two pass each other on the road and Violet finds out that James is fine.What ensues is a pretty messed up, hilarious, and also frustrating war between the two. Violet pretends to have consumption, James pretends to want to take on a mistress (in front of Violet), and the two go round and round. Throughout the book we get snippets of *The Argument* that happened between them to set them on this path of silence and misery. Ugh. There were certainly times that these two pissed me off. They were two of the most STUBBORN characters I've ever had the pleasure reading about. All of their friends were constantly telling them to JUST TALK but noooooooooooooooooo. One of them has a breakthrough and the other immediately shut that shit down. It was torment. But. For some reason it didn't get to me in the slightest. I ate that crap up and hungered for more. Like it just built up and built up and FINALLY...that first kiss. I melted. The tension between the two was so palpable by the end I loved it. And even though it did take them the entire length of the book to work their problems out, I loved how it all finally went down. It took time and effort and they sorted EVERYTHING out before completely reconciling. Honestly I haven't devoured a book so fast in AGES and I pray there are more coming. If I could voice once complaint it would have to be that the writing took some times getting used to. There's quite a few (in my English major opinion) run on sentences at the beginning that I felt like I had to re-read a few times to truly understand the gist of but that seemed to get better as time went on!P.S. I need Diana and Emily stories now, plz thanks.Huge thanks to Atria books and NetGalley for allowing me to review a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion! ♥For more of my reviews, please visit:
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  • Permanently_Booked
    January 1, 1970
    "Tell me, at mealtimes do you slice your meat with great gusto whilst staring at your husband menacingly across the table?"Violet and James. I could not ask for better characters to become completely smitten with. This Regency romcom was exactly what the doctor ordered (pun intended for those who've read it). I laughed out loud (literally), I raised eyebrows, snickered, shook my head and demanded more at the end. It's as if Waters channeled the beauty of Regency classics and created this unique "Tell me, at mealtimes do you slice your meat with great gusto whilst staring at your husband menacingly across the table?"Violet and James. I could not ask for better characters to become completely smitten with. This Regency romcom was exactly what the doctor ordered (pun intended for those who've read it). I laughed out loud (literally), I raised eyebrows, snickered, shook my head and demanded more at the end. It's as if Waters channeled the beauty of Regency classics and created this unique mixture of comedic wit and lusty attraction for the modern reader. Told from the POV of James and Violet, you're brought into a marriage that has been dismantled due to a fight four years ago. When an accident occurs and Violet rushes to be by James' side, she discovers him well. Thus the games of "I'll teach you a lesson" begin. I will say that I personally could not imagine being in a fight for four years with my husband and I thought this a bit ludicrous at first when reading the synopsis. But reality is that many individuals stay in silent and unhappy marriages all their lives. So that feeling faded quickly. This is not just a Regency romcom. There is an underlying feel of coming into your own, or even coming of age like in young adult novels. The struggle that Violet and James have to be their own person outside of the scrutiny of their parents played well through the pages. Icing on the cake of this well rounded novel.Highly recommend for a great laugh, excellent writing and fans of anyone who likes romance and regency. Thank you to Atria Books and the author for providing a copy of this novel for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts are solely my own.
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  • charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
    January 1, 1970
    I’d rather spend my days arguing with you than in calm conversation with anyone else in the world. On my blog. Actual rating 4.5CWs: child neglectGalley provided by publisherRomance is one of those genres where I can sit and devour a good book within a few hours, and that was definitely what I did with To Have and To Hoax. It’s a second chance romance (of sorts), full of the right amounts of angst and frustration and pining that you want from one of those.The story follows an estranged mar I’d rather spend my days arguing with you than in calm conversation with anyone else in the world. On my blog. Actual rating 4.5CWs: child neglectGalley provided by publisherRomance is one of those genres where I can sit and devour a good book within a few hours, and that was definitely what I did with To Have and To Hoax. It’s a second chance romance (of sorts), full of the right amounts of angst and frustration and pining that you want from one of those.The story follows an estranged married couple. After James is injured falling from his horse, only to be right as rain when Violet rushes to his side, she decides to feign an illness to get back at him. Of course, this leads to one-upmanship as each tries to irritate the other more. Meanwhile, they are both realising that maybe they don’t hate each other as much as they believed.Possibly my favourite aspect of this book is that, while the misunderstanding that causes their estrangement is fundamentally based on a lack of communication and is thus somewhat stupid, the narrative never frames it as anything but stupid. Every character besides James and Violet tries to tell them that this could all be solved by having it out and explaining themselves, but it’s their pride that gets in the way. Which makes it a breath of fresh air from those books which use stupid miscommunications as a plot device and never recognise that they are actually stupid. (It’s a pet peeve…) I also loved that, because they’re so stubborn and prideful, the process of them actually realising for themselves they need to talk is a fairly slow one (even if that did at times frustrate me. But it was a good frustration).It definitely helped throughout that I loved James and Violet. You get both their POVs, so you get both sides of the story (always good when it’s one like this). And, yeah, James was a little less justified in my mind for being angry (though obviously there were good reasons for that), but you still felt sorry for the both of them. Not to mention that, for once in this genre it feels like, James wasn’t a deeply objectionable jerk at any point (except from Violet’s POV, but you know the sort I mean). That definitely helped with the sympathising with him. (Also, apart from two great main characters, the side characters are all excellent too, and I really really need books for the hinted-at romances now.)If there was one tiny thing I liked not so much here, it was that, at times, their relationship development seemed to take two steps forward then one step back. They would seem to make some progress, then they would start arguing again. But, while it did frustrate me, especially near the end, it was also mostly understandable, given that their issues were based on a lack of trust. It was just that final case of it that bugged me the most.So if you’re looking for a funny, but also angst-filled second chance romance, then this book is the one for you.
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  • che
    January 1, 1970
    do dumbasses deserve rights?
  • book bruin
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI don't often read historical romances (so I have no idea how accurate things were), but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I have been having a hard time focusing on books with everything going on in the world, so this was a wonderful story to get lost in. To Have and to Hoax features some of my favorite tropes (second chance, enemies to lovers) and I am impressed that this is Martha Waters's debut. I enjoyed that this was a romance featuring a marriage in crisis and don't feel th 3.5 starsI don't often read historical romances (so I have no idea how accurate things were), but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I have been having a hard time focusing on books with everything going on in the world, so this was a wonderful story to get lost in. To Have and to Hoax features some of my favorite tropes (second chance, enemies to lovers) and I am impressed that this is Martha Waters's debut. I enjoyed that this was a romance featuring a marriage in crisis and don't feel that there are enough of those available.The playful banter and barbs from James and Violet were my favorite and I was rooting for these two to figure out their issues from the very start. I think the drama and misunderstandings were drawn out a bit too much though and I have a hard time believing that this miscommunication lasted 4 years. The characters were pretty immature for people in their 20's, but given their histories and insecurities, it was somewhat understandable. They did grow and start to take responsibility for their actions, but by that point the drama felt over the top and drama just for drama's sake.The secondary characters were a lot of fun and I'm definitely intrigued and hopeful that we will see stories for Diana, Jeremy, Emily, Julian, West, and Sophie. Overall, an entertaining read and I look forward to reading more by Martha Waters in the future.*I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*
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  • Rina ~abbyalliterally~
    January 1, 1970
    Hilarious, hot, and highly dramatic - this was exactly the type of book I’ve been wanting to read all of April.There is just something about historical fiction set in England (even if it's not Victorian London) that gets me every time. I just love the witty repartees, the outdated language, and how literally everything is perceived as scandalous.This is lovers to enemies to lovers at it's finest, although I have to say that it started to get slightly repetitive and a bit too dramatic with the la Hilarious, hot, and highly dramatic - this was exactly the type of book I’ve been wanting to read all of April.There is just something about historical fiction set in England (even if it's not Victorian London) that gets me every time. I just love the witty repartees, the outdated language, and how literally everything is perceived as scandalous.This is lovers to enemies to lovers at it's finest, although I have to say that it started to get slightly repetitive and a bit too dramatic with the last third, but it was still perfecetly entertaining.However, I couldn't help detracting one star, as being a man does not entail the necessity to stare longingly at every set of boobs that may or may not present themselves, despite this story repeatedly trying to convince me otherwise.The few occassions something was appraisingly described as being "male" or "masculine", I could hardly refrain from rolling my eyes, since these terms are void of any deeper meaning.I did not see how these words were supposed to indicate any positive traits, since for "female" and "feminine", it was quite the opposite when it came to the ladies' disposition. The exception being feminine curves, of course.I might be just a bit too deconstructionist for historical fiction.
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  • *The Angry Reader*
    January 1, 1970
    Two people fall in love. And quickly get married. A year into their marriage they have a falling out. You don’t learn the nature of the falling out until a ways into the book, but when you do....my goodness is it stupid. One of the parties was completely in the wrong over the falling out. The other party is a tit-faced, ninny who, in a childish attempt to be hurtful, drags the thing on...for four years. I don’t think it’s fun to read bickering. These two are a pair of shrews who suck the joy fro Two people fall in love. And quickly get married. A year into their marriage they have a falling out. You don’t learn the nature of the falling out until a ways into the book, but when you do....my goodness is it stupid. One of the parties was completely in the wrong over the falling out. The other party is a tit-faced, ninny who, in a childish attempt to be hurtful, drags the thing on...for four years. I don’t think it’s fun to read bickering. These two are a pair of shrews who suck the joy from any scene in with they co-exist with ham-fisted attempts at bludgeoning the other to death with idiotic juvenile insults. This book is boring, silly, and ridiculous. If you want to see a marriage fall to pieces and then resurrect in a way that is believable and exquisitely torturous read Sherry Thomas.
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  • Lorilin
    January 1, 1970
    This could have EASILY been a fun four-star book, but it went on foreeeeevvvveeer. It should have been half as long, minimum. I was at the 52% mark before the two main characters spoke more than a sentence at one time to each other. And it didn't help that they created drama for themselves out of nothing, all because they wouldn't do what any typical married couple would do in this situation: talk to each other. I love the concept, but the execution was off. Full review TK.
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  • Em Wittmann
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 starsI already know my GR feed will be flooded with 4/5 star happy, satisfied reviews of this much anticipated debut in the next few days. I'm happy to add my own to the mix. Funny, tender, sexy and fast paced, To Have and to Hoax is a Friends-esque historical rom-com, complete with a borrowed plot from one of my favorite episodes of that show: She doesn't know I know she knows I know. Friends: The One Where Everybody Finds OutLady Violet Grey spent most of her life listening to her mother' 4.25 starsI already know my GR feed will be flooded with 4/5 star happy, satisfied reviews of this much anticipated debut in the next few days. I'm happy to add my own to the mix. Funny, tender, sexy and fast paced, To Have and to Hoax is a Friends-esque historical rom-com, complete with a borrowed plot from one of my favorite episodes of that show: She doesn't know I know she knows I know. Friends: The One Where Everybody Finds OutLady Violet Grey spent most of her life listening to her mother's constant warnings about Ruin, and Violet's tightrope-walk on the edge of it. When she finds herself alone on a balcony with a notorious rake, Jeremy Overington, Marquess of Willingham, she's fairly certain it's precisely the kind of scenario her mother worried about. But it's her first season, she's (sort of) enjoying the Ruining, and before she can actually be Ruined, a surprise savior arrives. When Lord James Audley, the second son of the Duke of Dovington, interrupts the potential Ruination by suggesting Jeremy is losing his touch (they aren't quite in the darkest corner of the balcony), Violet is both terrified of their discovery, and relieved. James, one of Jeremy's closest friends, is discreet and probably won't tell anyone. The friends exchange sharp words before Jeremy, much to James' shock, departs for a drink and leaves him alone with her. Violet doesn't shrink away (ha! see what I did there) from his censure, or after he apologizes for the swift curse that escaped him after Jeremy's escape. Instead, she chastises him for treating her as a mere spectator to her own life. The conversation quickly turns into a flirtation, and then a dance...until the pair is startled by the sudden arrival of Violet's mother. Fast forward five years. James and Violet are married, but they live as virtual strangers in their shared home on Curzon Street. After an idyllic first year of marriage, a bitter fight over a misunderstanding left them both unwilling and unable to forgive and forget. They secretly still love each other, but the distance between them has never been greater. When Violet receives word that James has been thrown from a horse at their country home, and is unconscious, she's devastated. She races to get to him, regretting the past four years of their acrimonious separation, knowing she's still deeply in love with him. After stopping at an inn for a short break, she spots James walking towards her. At first, she's shocked speechless to see him looking perfectly fine. But when she finally confesses her purpose, James thoughtlessly dismisses her concerns. Violet is furious. And livid. And ready for revenge. Convinced it was a trick to prove her affection, Violet decides to fake a serious illness of her own and give him a taste of his own medicine. She enlists their tight-knit group of Friends to help her...and well, the whole thing is bonkers and ridiculous. But also sort of funny.I say sort of funny because the story is too long. Once James figures out that Violet is faking her illness and gets his own revenge by forcing her to remain sick when she's ready to move on, the novel drags before it reaches it's inevitable conclusion. There aren't any more tricks - well, there is one, but it's almost blink and you'll miss it; instead, we're faced with these two realizing over and over again what their friends already know (despite not knowing precisely why they fought in the first place) - they belong together, they love each other, and the past four years could have been avoided had they only TALKED to each other after their horrible fight. Pride, although Ms. Water's never explicitly says it, is almost as much a hurdle to their happiness as all of the rest of it.And the rest of it is about trust, or their mutual lack of it. Violet doesn't believe James trusts her above all others, and it keeps her from trying to heal the rift between them. James, for much of the story, believes Violet violated his trust...but even when he learns the truth about the origins of their fight, he doesn't realize the damage his lack of trust has done. It takes this parting exchange from Violet (at the tail end of the novel) to set the long delayed final denouement in motion. I already know your worth. You don't need to prove anything to me. I need for my opinion to be the one that matters the most to you, because I am your wife. So please, James, I am begging you. I am leaving now, and please don't come after me until you can make that true. The plot moves quickly, with just the right amount of angst to add depth to this otherwise charming story. The dialogue and inner PoV's are particularly well realized, and it was easy to see how these two fell hard for each other - and then stumbled. James never learned to trust in love, and therefore has no basis for understanding it once he falls in love with Violet. Violet has never felt more fully herself than she was in that first year of marriage with James, but the moment she errs - she keeps a secret for too long - James turns on her. These are two fully realized characters, and I was impressed with Waters ability to show us - through the lens of their mutual PoV's - how their upbringings shaped the marriage in that first year, and then, more significantly, later when it wasn't as easy to be together. Although Waters positions Violet as a woman who struggles within the confines of her sex, I thought her lack of agency was an underdeveloped, almost distracting subplot. She chafes against her life, but only when it's convenient to the plot. It feels like Waters was paying lip service to a BIG and CONTROVERSIAL topic in HR Romancelandia these days, and the effort lacks effort? It's a bit too wishy washy feel good with barely any commitment.James and Violet have great chemistry, and while I enjoyed the steamy scenes sprinkled throughout the second half, unfortunately, there are too few of them. Everything about this novel screams 'modern' historical (the good kind), and I think the sex should match the material. Instead, we get too many memories of sexy times...and while this might appeal to many readers, I wish there was more on page. I also can't help but feel the AWESOME INCREDIBLE EVERYWHERE sex of the first year is a bit oversold, and sometimes Waters purple prose veers a bit off the rails. He was so close now that she could smell him - he smelled faintly of horse and sweat and himself, and it made her want to tug him closer, lick his skin. Um, yuck? Horse and sweat and licking? No thanks.To Have and to Hoax features a likeable group of secondary characters whom I expect we will see in future stories. These friends, and a few outliers who help Violet in her shenanigans, all get their turn as scene stealers, and they enhance this story in every way. I'm curious about each and everyone of them, and eager to know who Waters will feature next. I don't see a series name attached to this title, but I would be very much surprised if there aren't 3 or 4 (please?) books to come. Jeremy perhaps plays the more prominent role in this outing, so maybe he's next? Regardless, this is a promising, charming and funny, debut. I'll be looking forward to whatever she writes next! Recommended reading for anyone looking for:1. A fresh and funny twist on the enemies to lovers trope2. A new, potentially great voice in historical romance3. A way to be transported from your everyday life4. Great rom-com - historical or otherwise!
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