BOOK REVIEW: To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

BOOK REVIEW: To Have and to Hoax by Martha WatersTo Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters
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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.


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 an ebook galley 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 and don’t particularly need more currently 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, have you taken a look? 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! ♥

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  1. Hahaha!! I can so relate with your first paragraph. I’m glad you read it, too! Now I know I need to add it to my TBR.
    T.H. Hernandez recently posted…Book Blitz – Excerpt + Giveaway – A MAD REED SECURITY CHRISTMAS (Reed Security) by Giulia LagomarsinoMy Profile

    • Arielle

      December 19, 2019 at 4:59 am

      You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now but I never will, lol! And I hope you end up enjoying it, too!

  2. It’s funny because this wouldn’t normally be a genre that I’d read either, but that synopsis had me all intrigued. Sounds like it worked the same for you, and accepting it really paid off!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…December 2019 & Year-End Wrap-Up Round-Up & GiveawayMy Profile

  3. I got a widget email the other day for this one. I have been on the fence about it, because it is not really my goto genre, but you make it sound super fun.

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