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Summary

Named a most anticipated romance by Oprah Daily, Marie Claire, BuzzFeed, PopSugar, and more! 

The author of the “hilarious...joyful, elegant” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) To Have and to Hoax returns with an effervescent, charming, and swoon-worthy novel about a man and woman who never agree on anything - until they agree to a no-strings-attached affair in this Regency-era romp.

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit 100 pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition. 

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party - Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts. 

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.

©2021 Martha Waters. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Profile Image for Emily D
  • Emily D
  • 25-05-21

Cute concept, but poor execution

I didn’t really enjoy this book.
There is so much I could say about this book. So much I want to say, but ultimately this book is too “meh” for me to even work up the energy to write out a full review. So, short review, no spoilers:
The author made some interesting (read: poor) choices with her premise. She inserts a few “twists” and “misunderstandings,” but doesn’t make good use of them. Her lack of commitment to these additions makes them feel poorly thought out and pointless. A few times they seem like glaring plot holes. I felt like she should have simplified her story since she wasn’t able to pull off all the extra (completely unnecessary) complexities.
The author relies on a lot of telling, rather than showing. A lot of that telling takes place in very long (seemingly endless) internal monologues and clunky dialogue between characters you don’t really care about.
The writing is repetitive. The characters think the same thoughts over and over. The author is repetitive with turns of phrase. The background of side characters (presumably main characters in other books in the series) are repeated frequently.
The romance was not engaging. The first chapter was the best it got. Once again, the author tells us how attractive these characters are and how attracted to each other they are, but I felt none of the actual spark you get with a good romance pairing. Also, given the blurb, I figured the book would probably contain some pretty good physical scenes. It contains a single first base, third base, and “home run” scene. All filled with their own issues and none that I found even slightly hot.
Finally, the narration. I know this book is supposed to be funny and clever, but the male narrator (Joel Froomkin) was better suited to straight farce. His accents and affectations definitely did not contribute to the idea of an attractive hero, though his narration of the hero's grandmother was admittedly wonderful. Having him narrate a sex scene was…well, I doubt it was the intended effect.

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  • Toren
  • 13-04-21

Good book

The story and the female narrator were great, the accent the male narrator chose was tough to listen to.