cover image To Swoon and to Spar

To Swoon and to Spar

Martha Waters. Atria, $17.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-66800-790-7

An elaborate hoax leads to unexpected love in Waters’s satisfying, slow-burning fourth Regency Vows romance (after To Marry and to Meddle). Jane Spencer has been enjoying her freedom in Cornwall’s Trethwick Abbey since the death of her parents and has no intention of allowing a marriage of convenience to Peter Bourne, seventh Viscount Penvale, to cramp her style. She intends to force him to abandon her in the country by convincing him the house is haunted with the help of her faithful staff. Unfortunately, Peter doesn’t believe in ghosts and only agreed to the marriage to regain possession of Trethwick Abbey, his childhood home, so he’s not easily driven out. The constant disturbances are irritating however, so he plays along when Jane not so innocently suggests the trouble could be a haunting, hoping to catch the mastermind behind the scheme. As he and Jane wander the halls in search of the undead, they discover to their surprise that they actually enjoy being around each other. Love blossoms, but even after their relationship transitions into a true marriage, their shaky foundation threatens their romance. The pace is somewhat uneven, but the goofy faux ghosts and Jane’s hilariously blunt personality set this apart. Series fans won’t be disappointed. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (Apr.)