Title: To Love and to Loathe (The Regency Vows #1)
Author: Martha Waters
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: April 6, 2021
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.
With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.
The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton, likes to flirt and argue with her brother’s friend Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham. One evening, they make a bet for a hundred pounds that Jeremy will marry within the year. Soon after that wager, Jeremy ends the romance with his current mistress, which leads her to spread rumors about his skills in bed. Jeremy wants an opinion on his skills, so he proposes a brief affair with Diana to get her honest critique. Diana hopes to start her own rumors with this affair, to signal that she is ready to take a lover. What Jeremy and Diana don’t expect is to fall for each other.
I’ve read a few stories with a similar plot to this one, but this type of storyline never gets old. This enemies to lovers trope is so much fun. The tension between Jeremy and Diana when they argued easily led to romantic tension between them.
This story had some different scenarios that a woman would have been in during the Regency period when finding a husband. Diana didn’t have any money so she had to find a husband when she was young. He died a couple of years later, making her a wealthy widow who didn’t need to find another husband. Her friend Violet found a husband in the previous novel To Have and to Hoax. They had some drama but they were mostly a happy couple. Another character did not want to find a husband for a secret reason, so she manipulated her public image to make her seem unappealing to potential suitors. Though these women were all in a similar position, following society’s standard of looking for a husband, they each had different motivations behind what they were doing.
This was such a great Regency romance!
Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George
Other books in the series:
Have you read To Love and to Loathe? What did you think of it?