Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Regency Romance
Publisher: Atria Books
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.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but it does not influence my opinion of the book nor the contents of this review in any way.
This book sounds like the regency of You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle, another romance dropping this spring. So when I heard the plot, I immediately requested the book and was accepted, despite it being after release date. That means it’s available for you to get!
To Have and To Hoax really is a great title for this one. It’s a story about a married couple of 5 years, and in their fourth year of the Cold War Marriage. It all started quite nicely… they were married quickly to avoid scandalous rumors, but that wasn’t really a problem, as it was a love match. They were deeply in love and the best of friends in a passionate marriage until an argument a year into their marriage destroyed their relationship. They merely exchange pleasantries now, and can scarcely stand to be in the same room as the other. They’re still very much in love, but there’s a spike in their relationship that can’t be ignored.
Violet, who could rarely cease her chatter long enough to take a breath, so full of life and ideas and curiosity about everything, everywhere – to sit across from her in silence was worse than any argument could have been.
Our main character, Violet, was a great heroine. She’s vibrant, full of life and opinions, is daring and passionate, and just so much fun. So when she gets a letter from a family friend that her husband was thrown from his horse and unconscious in their country home, and she immediately rushes to his side, Cold War be damned. Turns out, he was fine. But he made the mistake of telling her that he wouldn’t have sent the letter anyway because he ended up being fine. So she decides that she’ll show him how it feels for her to be hurt and not tell him, and stages a whole production and being diagnosed with an illness.
With varying success, because he wasn’t fooled for long. But of course, he couldn’t let her know that he knew, so he started playing her games, thus starting a war of back-and-forth the likes of which were… quite incredible, really. Because even though they stood by their stances they’d had for the last four years in Their Argument, they missed each other. And arguing and hating the other is easier than pining, right? So they throw themselves into this war.
Sane men did not engage in lengthy wars of attrition with wives pretending to have illnesses with fluctuating degrees of severity – but, dash it, he knew this much: Violet knew that he knew that she wasn’t really ill.
It was quite fun and maddening all at once. This is one of those books that you just wish you could shake the characters. Most of what happened in this book would not have happened if they just talked to each other!! Like for god’s sake. SPEAK.
I read it in one sitting and I did enjoy this one! Things did go too far, but they were handled gracefully and I loved that our heroine didn’t back down and accept him the minute he buckled for a second, but made him win her over once more and prove that he could do right by her again. This was a regency romance, so it sucked that I had to read that damn line – that one that’s in every regency romance. The one where she’s arguing and he thinks about her “heaving bosoms.” Woman speak, man notice breast. Not to mention the excessive use of “husband” and “wife” when speaking to each other. But what else is new?
Overall, it was an entertaining story. I loved all the side characters who got dragged along for the ride in their roller coaster of marital problems, and I see the potential for sequels! It had its small blips, but I enjoyed the main plotline and laughed frequently :)
Regency Romances you may enjoy…
What are some regency romance you enjoyed? Who do you like reading romances that take place in established relationships? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you?