Title: To Have and To Hoax
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Author: Martha Waters
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Atria, April, 2020
Sexy Rating: 5
Description from Amazon:
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?
This was a lively romp through the ridiculous games engaged in by this couple. As ridiculous and childish as the game was, the reader longs for these two basically charming, sane, husband and wife to find their HEA. But they keep digging themselves in a deeper and deeper hole.
I truly enjoyed every melodrama that turned up on almost every page. This plot was well written and I would have given it more than 5-stars if not for wanting to shake the heroine out of her machinations. At about 60% I was tired of the games. The characters were well drawn. Violet and James were easy to like and to understand their ongoing feud. The side characters were ripe for future books of their own. I can highly recommend this first book by Martha Waters and I hope for more fun HR’s in the future..