"To Have and to Hoax"

This romantic comedy by Martha Waters is set in Regency England during the early 1800s. It’s the hilarious story of a young Aristocratic English couple. This delightful book is full of intentional misdirections; fake accidents and illnesses designed to gain attention.

Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audrey meet at Lady Violet’s first London season where she made her presentation at court. Unbeknownst to Violet and James this chivalrous meeting was set up by James’ father and Violet’s mother. You don’t learn this fact until later in the story. Spoiler alert: this is revealed by James’ father and becomes the source of “the argument.”

The young couple fall in love and quickly marry.

Their first year of marriage is wonderful, full of passion and happiness, but then there is “the argument” which leaves them fighting and barely speaking to one another for the next four years. This is where the novel really begins. The story has you wondering, along with the other characters in the book, just what the argument was all about.

What could be so awful that you don’t speak to your spouse for four years? Violet and James’ are spoiled aristocrats. Their prim and proper behavior will keep readers smiling, as will their sass and witty dialogue. The couple’s little deceptions and lies add to the story’s drama and hilarity.

James and Violet are both very likable characters, and it’s obvious that they both still love each other. They just can’t bring themselves to have the serious conversation they need to have and you just want to bang their heads together.

Will they finally act like adults, acknowledge their mistakes and make apologies? Read the book and find out. I really enjoyed “To Have and to Hoax,” and highly recommend it.