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Named a best romance of the year by Entertainment Weekly
Named a most anticipated romance by Oprah Daily, Marie Claire, BuzzFeed, PopSugar, and more!
“There was no romance novel more fun this year than this extremely witty enemies-with-benefits confection.” —Entertainment Weekly
The author of the “hilarious...joyful, elegant” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) To Have and to Hoax returns with an effervescent, charming, and swoon-worthy novel about a man and woman who never agree on anything—until they agree to a no-strings-attached affair in this Regency-era romp.
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.
Waters's irresistibly irreverent second Regency Vows romance (after To Have and to Hoax) pairs young widow Diana Bourne with Jeremy Overington, the Marquess of Willingham, an infamous rake with whom she's always sparred at society functions. Their rivalry escalates when Diana wagers that Jeremy will be married within a year, planning to use Jeremy's upcoming house party as an opportunity to hurl eligible ladies at him. But when Jeremy, seeking reassurance about his prowess as a lover after a bad review, requests that Diana join him in a brief, educational affair, the two must confront what their increasing intimacy means for their bet and their relationship. Hero and heroine alike are delightfully unsentimental, and Waters takes obvious glee in prodding at genre conventions. (Notes Diana, "It was of course incumbent on every aristocratic man to have at least a somewhat tortured relationship with his own father.") This winking awareness is used to great effect during the lovers' first romp, when Diana does not immediately convulse with pleasure and instead must school Jeremy on his technique. This dynamic is such fun that it's almost a shame when Diana and Jeremy's feelings deepen and the plot becomes more conventional, but the journey to their happy ending is worth every step.