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The author of the “hilarious…joyful, elegant” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) To Have and to Hoax returns with an effervescent, charming, and swoon-worthy novel about a man and woman who never agree on anything—until they agree to a no-strings-attached affair in this Regency-era romp.

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.


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Fly Girl’s Review:

This was refreshing in the voice. Martha writes in a cross between Charlotte Bronte and Johanna Lindsey; it’s between interpretive Regency English and sultry vixen spoken word. Their so much depth to the language I had to reread sentences quite often wondering if I’d missed something. It was a bit like a Shakespeare play in which the story may be told in double entendre or a double negative to mean a yes. I haven’t read something in a long time that has sparked my attention to detail so much. It was lovely.

She takes us into the upper crust of the ton and teaches how conversing back then was an art all it’s own. Which, I guess, if you have someone to cook, clean, dress and bathe you, you’d have plenty of time to practice the art of conversation. It takes them at least twice as many words to say things back then than it does today. I read a lot written like this when I was in my teens, but none in recent years this well done.

The issues at hand for both parties are really so superficial in comparison to today’s issues, that you’re almost like, “that’s it, what is the problem? Get over it.” But in context to the fact people go to stay other’s homes for two weeks to just play and have fun, no business takes place at all. The ton in the day had little to worry about but the two issues she chooses to use in her plot are very well done for such simple issues. The way she describes the two sides of each person, one for society and one for private, is so vibrant you can see them right before you.

Amazingly, she even has a little women’s rights built into the story and the hero actually sees her point of view towards the end and realizes how women being thought of as possessions made their situations harder than men’s. Martha gives us a great lesson in how little things can bring two people together when they focus on seeing the real person behind the mask. I’m giving this one a 4 of 5 rating.

4 of 5 Propellers

Catch up on the series right here!!

To Have and to Hoax

To Merry and to Meddle will be out in 2022!!

Connect with Martha Waters

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Martha Waters was born and raised in sunny South Florida, where she spent her childhood reading lots of British children’s books and scribbling away in notebooks. Wishing for the novelty of seasons, she headed north (relatively speaking) and studied history and international studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also obtained her master’s degree in library science. She is the author of the historical rom-coms To Have and to Hoax, To Love and to Loathe, and To Marry and to Meddle (scheduled for publication in 2022). By day, she works as a children’s librarian, and loves sundresses, gin cocktails, and traveling.

  –Courtesy of her website