Title: To Have and To Hoax
Author: Martha Waters
Genre: Historical Romance
Edition/Pages: Paperback, 352 pages
I received an ARC copy of this from Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Violet and James married for love. But 5 years later, after a huge blow out 4 years ago, they can’t stand each other. But when Violet receives a letter that her husband was thrown from his horse and is unconscious, she rushes to his bedside. Only once she arrives, he is completely okay. This kickstarts an all out war. But deceiving each other forces them both to acknowledge their real feelings – they might not hate each other after all.
➸ POV: 3rd Person
➸ Violet Grey: 23, No sense of “meekness”, Curious and Snarky, Married 5 years
➸ James Audley: 28, Second son to a Duke, Gentleman, Closed off and Untrusting, Owner of profitable stables
➸ Content Warnings: Toxic relationships
This was a fun regency romance, but unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to expectations.
I really loved the beginning of this! I thought the characters were funny and charming. They main characters’ meet cute was adorable, and James was lovably grumpy. But this book really started to drag for me around the 100 page mark..
First the things I liked!
Violet was such a strong heroine. I loved how confident and self-assured she was. Even when everyone was telling her to act differently, she was steadfast in her decisions. She was intelligent, sarcastic, and openly against a lot of societal norms of the time. I love strong, feminist characters in historical!
James was a grumpy hero with a secret heart of gold – my favorite. I really liked that we got his thoughts as well as Violet’s. I liked knowing his motivations for his actions and it made him a really likable character despite his flaws.
However… I thought the writing in this was so repetitive and arduous. There was such an overabundance of unnecessary punctuation. There was absolutely no need for that many dashes, parentheses, etc. Every sentence started to feel cumbersome to get through. And if I had to read James’ age one more time I was going to lose it. We get it! He’s 28!
But the story itself was repetitive too. Not only were phrases used over and over again, but the characters kept repeating their actions. I think this book could have been 150 pages shorter and equally effective. By the 75% mark I was sick of the back and forth lying.
Overall the drawn out, repetitive nature of this book really brought my rating down. While I enjoyed the characters and banter, the pacing just was just too drawn out. This is a debut novel though, so I’m really interested to see what Martha Waters writes next!