To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

To Have and to HoaxTo Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars

Series: None (?)

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Lady Violet Grey met Lord James Audley when she was caught trysting with his friend, Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham. James sent his friend away after berating him for dallying with an innocent, but instead of immediately returning her to the ballroom – they flirt and are caught alone by her mother – James immediately proposes. They marry and spend their first year in a tumultuous relationship filled with love, passion, fighting and making up – until they don’t – they have a fight that basically ruins their marriage and they barely speak for the next four years.

They settle into a bland marriage – living together, but barely speaking and definitely not sharing a bed. Neither is happy, but neither is willing to make the first move towards reconciliation. So when James’ friend Viscount Penvale sends Violet a letter saying James was gravely injured at their county house – she rushes to see him, but finds him at an inn on the way back to London – no worse for the wear. When she mentions the accident, he brushes off her concern and basically tells her that he is none of her concern. Livid, Violet returns to London alone and plots to make James pay for his callous treatment of her. And so, it begins, complete with actors, lies, illness (with amazing, yet selective recovery), outrageous flirting, and more than a few kisses.

This was a very well written story that started out strong and very amusing, but soon the constant bickering and the over the top dramatics went from entertaining to tedious and immature. I didn’t dislike the book, it was a light read with likable characters, some witty dialogue, great secondary characters, warmish love scenes, perfect formal address (with nary a title error to be found!). So, as far as debut novels go, this is one of the better ones, and I liked Ms. Waters’ writing style, I really believe with more experience, she will be a must read author. But in regards to this book, there were things that didn’t work for me, I found a four year estrangement to be a bit too long, I also felt like the conflict between them dragged on for way too long – the last 20% of the book was frustrating to read and in the end, I don’t know if I really believe these two will enjoy a HEA – they were both immature, judgmental and stubborn. There is also the price (which I know is not the author’s doing, but it still matters to readers) – this debut novel is pretty pricey, selling for more than books by well known, best-selling authors – If the book was priced more reasonably, I would recommend it – but at the current price of almost $13.00, I would pass until the price goes down. This book was not promoted as the beginning of a series, but there are several possible stories started in this book and I would be interesting in reading them.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by Edelweiss and the publisher.*

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Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

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