New Release Review | To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Have HoaxTo Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters
Historical Romantic Comedy
Atria Books | April 7, 2020

About the Book:

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?


This was an odd request for me. I usually leave the historical romance reviews to my co-blogger Cat. While I did go through a phase once, lately they’re not what I reach for on the bookshelf. Still, something about To Have and to Hoax interested me.

I think I was intrigued with the idea of two people trying to one up each other with tumbles and maladies. Plus, I love a rom-com, and I was super excited to read one that took place in Regency England! I mean, right now I could use a good laugh. So, even though I requested this a long time ago, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

All in all I got what I was looking for.

The antics between Violet and James were definitely entertaining. I found it hard to believe neither realized that they had to still feel love, if they were going to all this for each other’s attention. However, I also think there’s a good chance I’m just far too pragmatic. It was funny for the first half, at which time I was ready for something to happen that would force Violet and James to finally get real with each other.

Ya know, to put away childish games.

As they say adults should do.

Overall, it was an enjoyable fast read. I read it in a day. I was entertained with a light, generally happy story. If my hunch is correct these characters may not truly go away. There was plenty of room for at least 3 spinoff’s. There was too much happening with Violet and James friends for us to really have to say goodbye.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing an advance copy, in exchange for an honest review.

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

4 Responses

  1. Ah, I’m happy to see your review! I have this ARC lined up to read, but so far haven’t been in the mood. Hearing that you liked it (and that it’s a quick and light read) makes me think this may be the right time to start after all.


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