To Have and to Hoax

🐞 🐞 🐞


Martha Waters

Atria Books

April 7, 2020

352 Pages


Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley have been married for four years. They once loved each other—in fact, they probably still do. But early in their marriage they had a huge fight, and now they can’t stand to be in the same room together. James has lately become obsessed with his horse stables, which makes Violet incredibly jealous (and sometimes worried for his safety). When Violet gets a letter from one of James’s friends that James has been thrown from his horse and is injured, Violet is terrified he’s close to death. Imagine her surprise when, on her way to the stables, she catches James coming out of a tavern, completely fine. Violet is furious and vows to get revenge. She decides to fake having tuberculosis in an effort to make James worry about her for a change. James quickly sees through her plan but decides to play along, only so he can continue tricking her. The longer the game goes on, the more both realize that they may be hating their way back to love.


To Have and to Hoax is a tongue in cheek, period-piece-type book not meant to be taken too seriously. I loved the premise, but, unfortunately, the execution fell short. My main complaint is that the book moved at a glacial pace—Violet and James don’t even really speak to each other until the 50% mark. A little bit of cat and mouse is okay, but it’s maddening to read a book where the main characters seem to purposely miscommunicate with each other. Not only is it unrealistic, but the predictability slows the plot to the point of becoming boring. I wish the book had been edited down by at least 30%. This could have been a four-star read, but, unfortunately, as is, I can’t recommend it.

Thank you to Atria Books for the ARC!

Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon.

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