Title: To Love and to Loathe (The Regency Vows #2)
Author: Martha Waters
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: April 6th, 2021
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.
The second book in Martha Water’s The Regency Vows series, To Love and to Loathe features two side characters from the first book and their love story. Diana Templeton is a widow, and currently in the market for a super secret love affair. Jeremy recently was given a negative critique on his bedroom performance, and is looking for an ego boost with someone he trusts to give it to him straight. These two have always had a hot and cold relationship, fraught with sexual tension, so it seems they both suit the other’s current needs. But are they both in danger of falling for the other as well?
The plot of this book is very similar to Evie Dunmore’s second novel in her regency series, A Rogue of One’s Own, which wasn’t my favorite of her two. However, I enjoyed To Love and the Loathe even more than To Have and to Hoax. Loathe brought everything that I was missing from Rogue. I loved both of the characters so much, and there were even more antics and societal intrigue (along with a secret LGBTQ love affair!), and Loathe seemed to set up a love story for a third book – which I would be super excited to read.
You also got to see Violet and James in this story, and see bits and pieces of the aftermath of Hoax. I do think the plot line of Jeremy needing to be reassured on his bedroom prowess was a touch cheesy at times, but it led to interesting, feminist dialogue between the two in regards to relations between men and women in this time period – or what I would imagine they were like! I also just love the idea of a 2 week house party?? Like YES, sign me up now.
I highly recommend this romance, regency series by Martha Waters and I will just be here, impatiently waiting and hoping to hear that another will be coming!
Thank you to Atria Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!