Book Review – To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

to have and to hoax

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Well, that was rather ridiculous. I don’t understand these people. I have no clue why they argued over nothing again at the end. Literally no clue. I love lovers to enemies to lovers, especially with estranged spouses but when you’re seeking arguments this much, for YEARS, over bloody nothing, you have no business being a couple. I’m serious. Do everyone a favor and let it go already.

In my opinion this particular trope works if :

  • the main characters separated because of a real, inextricable issue, and haven’t seen each other for years (see: Daring and the Dukeor
  • the main characters have been arguing for months – the key word being months, not bloody years (see: You Deserve Each Other)
  • there’s groveling/or at least some kind of evolution at some point!!! The characters need to make me believe in their relationship, damn it!

In To Have and to Hoax, it doesn’t work. I’m sorry but the whole thing doesn’t make any sense? So you’re telling me that the main characters have lived with each other for FOUR YEARS without addressing the issue when *one* adult conversation would have solved the problem ? It’s pushing the miscommunication plot point waaaay too far in my opinion. Plus the “hoax” part is nonsensical, and drags for sooooo long: you see, they STILL go on when they KNOW that the other KNOWS they’re faking it. This is actually a quote from the book :

-and instantly, he knew.
He knew that she knew.
Or rather, he knew that she knew that he knew.

Sure, it’s written to be humorous, but given that it’s 59% already, and that they’re going to argue over nothing for the next 30%, I’m not feeling really entertained. I have a fucking HEADACHE born from the intense frustration. At some point a secondary character tells them that they’re behaving like children, and I felt quite vindicated at first because seriously!!!! – but actually, no : a child would never act this way. A child would look squarely into your eyes and ask why you’re angry and still pretending that your wife is sick when you know she’s pretending to be sick. Only (annoying) adults would go this far.

The only reason it doesn’t get 1 star is the writing, that I found rather nice. I will give this author another chance, but not one more.

About To Have and to Hoax
Author : Martha Waters | Publisher : Atria Books | Genre : Historical Romance | Pages : 367

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.

9 thoughts on “Book Review – To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

  1. Miscommunications can be great additions to a story, but it’s pointless if there isn’t some resolution from it that brings the characters back together after they grew from the mistakes! I’ve had this book recommended to me a lot, but now I’m thinking it is a pass from me haha

    1. Yes exactly! If it’s done well I can LOVE this kind of plots but we really need some kind of evolution… I’m still eager to try the second book because I liked the characters (they were secondary characters in this one) and the writing was good, I just hope I won’t be disappointed again!

  2. I feel like if I had been presented with just the synopsis of this book I would have felt the need to add it to my TBR, but all of this back and forth for nothing sounds exhausting. I’m sad you didn’t enjoy it but I understand why.

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