When I read Martha Waters debut novel, The Have and to Hoax, I laughed out loud multiple times and absolutely fell in love with the characters and writing! Waters is funny and cheeky, I adored the banter and chemistry between the characters. Which is why this one went on my auto buy list! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one!
I picked this one up while I was waiting for my son’s soccer camp to finish and I was looking for something that was easy reading that would put me in a good mood and that I could put a bookmark in as needed and then pickup again later without feeling totally lost. That’s exactly what this book was for me. Some easy fluffy romance reading!
I enjoyed this one very much but I have to admit that I don’t know that it held the same magic as the first one in the series. That’s not to say that it was bad or anything, it was just different than the first one but it was still a fun read all the same! I would also recommend this one to Bridgerton fans. The first book in the series was on my top books to read after Bridgerton list and this one would easily make that list too.
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. (summary from Goodreads)
I love the enemies to lovers troupe so much and this one had some of that element to it but it was clear that they didn’t truly hate one another and they were very aware that they were attracted to one another. So strictly speaking it wasn’t fully enemies to lovers but I loved the banter and ‘rage love’ that was going on in this one. Waters cheeky dialogue was evident in this one and Diana has some great zingers and set downs. I laughed at many points in the story. Diana’s character was strong willed and feisty so that was a big plus for me. I also liked Jeremy, he was just as feisty as Diana and their chemistry was undeniable.
But what I didn’t care for was Jeremy’s reasons for getting involved with Diana. The ‘I need reassurance of my prowess’ guise didn’t jive for me. It didn’t seem necessary or believable in many ways. While that might have been the point, a flimsy excuse for him to hook up with her, I think the execution could have been better. It felt basic and underwhelming for two characters that were so feisty and had so much chemistry. I would have liked to have seen something with a little more tension and build up between them and another reason for entering into a liaison.
The other thing that felt a little blah to me was all the secondary characters and their plot points. It was fun seeing Violet and James from the first book but then there was this whole other side story with Emily, Lady Sophia and West, and Lady Helen as well as Diana’s brother….. it just felt like a lot of was going on in the lives of the secondary characters. I could ave done with just the Lady Helen storyline. It just felt busy for me, not necessarily bad—just busy and it took away from Diana and Jeremy’s romance for me.
While I liked this one, I didn’t love it in the way I loved the first one. But I loved Jeremy and Diana together so I went with a 3 star rating for this one. It was a nice way to pass soccer camp and I am looking forward to the next book in the series which I am hoping is about Emily!
Book Info and Rating
Format384 pages, Paperback
PublishedApril 6, 2021 by Atria Books
ISBN9781982160876 (ISBN10: 198216087X)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Atria Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: romance, historical romance, historical fiction