To Have and to Hoax: A Novel (Paperback)
When Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met five years ago, it was love (and engagement) at first sight. Now it's five years into their marriage and they have not spoken to each other for the last four after an argument puts them at odds and neither refuses to back down. To break their stalemate, Violet decides to pretend she has consumption and hires an actor to play her doctor. Unfortunately, James sees through the ruse at the very first and what results is nothing short of delightful in this historical romantic comedy. If you're a fan of Jane Austen or the Brontes, but always thought their writing and plots to be a bit too stuffy, this is the read for you! —Anthony— From Staff Favorites List
Named a Best Romance of April by Goodreads, Popsugar, Bustle, and more!
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.
About the Author
Martha Waters is the author of To Have and to Hoax. She was born and raised in sunny South Florida, and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She works as a children’s librarian in North Carolina, and spends much of her free time traveling.
“Martha Waters makes a splashy debut with this pithy and charming historical rom-com . . . . Readers should have no trouble providing a laugh track themselves, considering the dizzy situational comedy and charming antics that await them, all underscored by the most essential element of all—an abundance of heart.”
“A laugh out loud Regency romp— if you loved the Bridgertons, you’ll adore To Have and to Hoax!”
—Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
“Anyone who has ever wondered what happens after the happily ever after in a Jane Austen novel will love Martha Waters’s To Have and to Hoax.”
“Waters’s debut Regency rom-com delights with hilarious, high-concept romantic schemes . . . . Waters gently lampoons genre tropes without sacrificing genuine feeling. Self-aware and brimming with well-timed epiphanies, this joyful, elegant romp is sure to enchant.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A married couple fake illness and injury in order to make each other fall in love in this madcap Regency romance. To Have and to Hoax centers on Violet and James, who, five years into their marriage, have spent four years without speaking to one another. They both want that spark back, but neither feels they can risk vulnerability by telling the other how they feel. What are a lord and lady to do? Come up with elaborate ruses, of course.”
“Waters’ cleverly conceived and brilliantly executed debut is served up with an abundance of cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit.”
—Booklist, starred review
"Martha Waters delights with a clever Regency comedy of manners."
—BookPage, starred review
“A charming regency-era romance with a twist . . . . deliciously hilarious and perfectly angsty.”
—Palm Beach Post
"Waters's writing is endlessly charming...absorbing and clever and at times laugh-out-loud funny. From the first line she had me hooked, and kept me turning pages late into the night. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!"
—Kate Clayborn, author of Love Lettering
"To Have and to Hoax is a delightful battle of wits that's funny and touching all at once. James and Violet are perfectly matched, and you'll love watching the sparks fly as they both infuriate each other and fall in love all over again."
—Jen DeLuca, author of Well Met
“Debuter Waters is off to a promising start with a rare historical romantic comedy that is sure to delight fans of either genre.”
“Waters is a gifted writer. She deploys sharp, incisive prose to describe each character's inner world, showing how each is a product of their upbringing and class.”
“Charming, clever, sensual, and brimming with comedic situations, To Have and to Hoax is a Regency battle of the sexes that will evoke gentle laughter as it enthralls.”
—New York Journal of Books
“To Have and to Hoax is an authentic romantic comedy… This fun and fresh historical debut will delight readers with humor and romance as a young couple battles to win back each other's affection.”