To Have and to Hoax

In Martha Waters's debut novel, a young, estranged married couple engages in a protracted battle of wits and minor deceptions. To Have and to Hoax is an authentic romantic comedy set in Regency-era England, complete with high-society expectations and familial obligations. It is also a very funny but heartfelt story of two people who desperately want to reclaim the love and happiness of the first year of their marriage.

When James is thrown from his horse at their country estate, Violet rushes from their London residence to be by his side, only to discover that he doesn't want her there. Exasperated, she hatches a fake-illness scheme to win back his attention and, hopefully, his affection. When she discovers that he's found her out, it's too late for either of them to admit to knowing, and a good-natured battle of pretending continues for much of the book. Grounded by a deep affection and attraction, their little lies and manipulations never sink to the level of meanness and instead result in a thoroughly enjoyable series of hijinks, lingering glances and a bit of steam. As they go on and their friends both aid and despair of them, James and Violet finally learn the truth about the final fight--the one that broke them apart--and some truths about themselves in the process. To Have and to Hoax is a refreshing debut full of laughs and banter, sure to leave readers clamoring for more from Martha Waters. --Suzanne Krohn, editor, Love in Panels

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