SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):
“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 one hundred 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.”
First off, I would like to thank NetGalley and Atria for the advanced reader copy. All thoughts are my own, and I was given this copy for an honest review.
I was sucked into To Love & To Loathe from the synopsis alone. I honestly love a book where two people don’t realize that they’ve been in love with each other for a while, and they are the last to figure it out. So I was very excited to get to read this early.
This was my first Martha Waters book actually, I haven’t read To Have & To Hoax (but now I might have to go back and do that). I really loved her writing style. This book is easy, breezy, and very binge-able. Jeremy and Diana are obviously the heart of this book and their banter and chemistry are incredible. I also loved the awareness of the misogynistic laws and the ridiculous patriarchal standards by the characters. This is often something that can be forgotten or swept aside in historical romances. This novel is also very sex-positive. Sure it is scandalous in society that Diana might take a lover, but none of her friends or acquaintances hold anything against her. Also, the bedroom conversations that Diana and Jeremy have about how important it is to listen to your partner were incredible and definitely unique to what I normally read.
I did have one big problem with this book, and that problem is a bit spoilery but I will try to be vague. One of the characters is revealed to be gay. When Diana has a conversation and this bit of information is revealed to her, the character asks for secrecy (understandably). Diana, in the next scene, tells her two friends and then later tells another person. She swears them to secrecy as well, but this is not Diana’s information to tell, even if this bit of information helps Diana come to terms with her feelings for Jeremy and thoughts on marrying again. This was one of my only problems with this book, but it did bring down my rating.
Overall, I did really enjoy this book and it definitely makes me interested in Martha Waters’s other novel. If you are looking for a well-written historical romance then you should definitely check out To Love & To Loathe.
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date (US): April 6th, 2021
Series: The Regency Vows #2
Page Count: 384
Genre: Historical Romance/Romantic Comedy