To Have and To Hoax is a regency romance book published by Headline Eternal on the 7th of April 2020. It follows a married couple, James and Violet, who have fallen out after an argument years before. Fed up with her husband’s lack of communication, Violet decides to teach him a lesson by faking an illness and everything gets a little bit out of hand.
I have a soft spot for regency romance and pre-ordered this book for my kindle at a discounted price. For some unfathomable reason I went into this book thinking that it was a fake-marriage story, which is not correct, and it was not what I was expecting. Despite this misunderstanding, for which I take full responsibility, I thought that the plot was surprisingly good. A lot happens in this book, so you feel as though it is constantly moving, and it keeps you on your toes. I was promised a laugh-out-loud book and it delivered on that front. It did veer towards ridiculousness at certain points, but I still found it enjoyable enough to be able to go along with the ride. I do think that it would make an excellent Netflix movie!
When I (eventually) realised that we were going to be following an already married couple I had some misgivings. I like my romances to be super angsty, and marriage and angst don’t usually go together. However, I needn’t have worried because this was plenty angsty for me. From the beginning, Violet and James aren’t your typical married couple, and with miscommunications piled on top of that Waters managed to keep the excitement of a will-they-wo’nt-they relationship despite the stakes not being as high as in a traditional non-married situation.
The characters, in general, were pretty good, and they had a nice depth to them. That said I think that there was more to them that Waters didn’t manage to capture. I very much got the feeling that she knew them inside out, and I would have liked to have seen more of that. The narrative perspective is split between Violet and James, which I adore in my romance books. However, clearer point-of-views would have been nicer, either through subheadings or through separate chapters.
Finally, I want to talk about the thing that irked me the most while reading this book; the pacing. It was pretty rough if I’m being perfectly honest. The author would introduce plot point after plot point in such quick succession that the reader just didn’t have time to process them. It’s frustrating because the plot point’s themselves were great, it was just that the book is constantly at this high level, and there isn’t any variation. Normally one problem is not enough to reduce this book to three stars, but the pacing is a structural problem, which is a serious problem because it causes a ripple effect. I think that this is one of the reasons that it’s so difficult to even summarise the plot, for instance.
Overall, I gave this book 🌟🌟🌟 out of a possible five stars. There is an undeniable charm to it that does make you want to keep reading, and it is an easy read. The pacing was awful, but I would probably reread it.
Coming Soon: Reading Long Books in a Short Time.