cover image To Have and to Hoax

To Have and to Hoax

Martha Waters. Atria, $17 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-9821-3611-6

Waters’s debut Regency rom-com delights with hilarious, high-concept romantic schemes that call to mind Shakespeare’s comedies. Lady Violet Grey’s first meeting with Lord James Audley, second son of a duke, was a comedy of errors. Despite an unlikely start and constant bickering, the pair fell in love and married. The first year was bliss for these sparring hearts, but one argument too many turned their passionate romance sour, and an icy distance has persisted between them for the past four years. They’re reunited when Violet learns that James has fallen from his horse in a riding accident. She rushes to his side only to discover him totally fine and seemingly indifferent to her concern. To recapture his attention, Violet enlists her two closest friends to help her fake a health crisis of her own. What follows is a series of riotously funny mishaps, pranks, and misunderstandings as the feuding couple weaponize Regency manners for their own ends. Waters gently lampoons genre tropes without sacrificing genuine feeling. Self-aware and brimming with well-timed epiphanies, this joyful, elegant romp is sure to enchant. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary (Apr.)