To Have and to Hoax (The Regency Vows #1) by Martha Waters
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Historical Rom-Com
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?
I have trouble calling this a rom-com but I know it tries to be so I am going to consider it one. Even though the jokes fell a bit flat for me.
This book was generally enjoyable and a bit of a romp but our two main characters were extremely unlikeable to me. I personally find it hard to fall in love with a book when I don’t connect or like any of the characters. The friend groups were probably the closest I got because they were so opposite to our leads in terms of maturity and logic and this book desperately needed them as ways to offer huge doses of reality to both of our leads.
Violet and James are far too childish for my liking. Their pranks aren’t witty, just sad. They don’t communicate and the big blow up that started it all was due to a simple miscommunication that was blown way out of proportion to both of their detriments. James is a typical hard-headed trope of a man who can figure out the issue but refuses to accept it based purely on him being stubborn and self-centred. Violet is mildly better and at times I had some respect towards her but her childish antics were just too much.
I’d say this book is a middle of the road read and wasn’t even on my radar until I realized that it was the first book in a series I didn’t realize was a series. Essentially, I saw the second book and the premise interested me and then I found out it was book 2 so I felt I needed to read book 1. Now I’m not sure I want to read book 2. But I probably still will since I liked the characters that will be our leads in that book.