Monday, June 5, 2023

Julie's Review: To Swoon and to Spar

Author: Martha Waters
Series: Regency Vows #4
Publication Date:  April 11, 2023
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 336
Obtained: Amazon First
Genre:  Historical Romance
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Clever romance 
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: Viscount Penvale has been working for years to buy back his ancestral home, Trethwick Abbey, from his estranged uncle. And so he’s thrilled when his uncle announces that he is ready to sell but with one major caveat—Penvale must marry his uncle’s ward, Jane Spencer. When the two meet in London, neither is terribly impressed. Penvale finds Jane headstrong and sharp-tongued. Jane finds him cold and aloof. Nevertheless, they agree to a marriage in name only and return to the estate. There, Jane enlists her housekeeper for a scheme: to stage a haunting so that Penvale will return to London, leaving her to do as she pleases at Trethwick Abbey. But Penvale is not as easily scared as his uncle and as their time together increases, Jane realizes that she might not mind her husband’s company all that much.

Review: This series just puts a smile on my face. Plus it's a good fill in after you've read or watched Bridgeton. The men are charming, smooth but not self-absorbed; the women are strong and opinionated. They also know what they want and go after it. Penvale and Jane are a bit different than the other 3 couples in the series as they aren't a "love match", meaning they are marrying for reasons other than love. In this case it is so that Penvale can buy his childhood home in Cornwall. Basically, if he buys it from his Uncle, Jane pretty much comes with it. Penvale agrees because after meeting Jane he decides that the house is worth the risk of her. Jane doesn't have much of a choice but does decide that Penvale is a step up from his awful Uncle.

I thought the haunting pranks were funny but I knew that Penvale was too smart to let it fool him for long. I enjoyed how he took that information and kept it to himself but it did make Jane think that he knew something but she wasn't sure what he knows. The games are cute but really it's just a distraction until they do bring them together. 

I liked Jane and I did feel badly for her because she never truly felt that she belonged anywhere and that caused her to become introverted or shy. She tended to lose herself in books, so of course extra points for here there. She admires Penvale for his thoughtfulness towards his tenants and his work ethic. He admires Jane for her wit and her ability to make people around her comfortable, even if she's not. 

If this is the end of the series, I'm happy with it. I've enjoyed all of the characters/couples and how they make their appearances in each of the books. 


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