Review: To Have and to Hoax

Title: To Have and to Hoax
Author: Martha Waters
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


In Regency England, James and Violet met during her debut into society and instantly fell in love. They had a whirlwind romance and married right away. Now it is five years later, and they haven’t spoken for the past four years. They are still married, but they had a mysterious fight that ruined their relationship. Even though they aren’t close, when Violet gets the news that James has had an accident while horseback riding, she rushes across the country to be by his side. On her way there, she meets him, perfectly healthy and on his way home. Violet is outraged and decides to give him a taste of his own medicine by faking an illness. This sparks a competition between the lovers, with each trying to prove how much they dislike the other.

I love stories set in this time period, the early nineteenth century in England. The characters didn’t act in the way that characters in a book written during that time period would behave. There was lots of gossip, affairs, and sex. It was fun to see how James and Violet kept competing to prove how much they didn’t like each other. This included faking illnesses and having affairs.

I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. The characters were witty and quick with their responses. I especially liked Violet’s friend Diana. She was a widow who liked to speak her mind and had to know all the gossip. I’m so excited to see that she will be featured in a sequel.

This is 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

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Have you read To Have and to Hoax? What did you think of it?

Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

4 thoughts on “Review: To Have and to Hoax”

  1. I’m so glad to read your review and hear how much you enjoyed this! I have a review copy still to be read and hadn’t been feeling particularly motivated, so this really helps. 🙂


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