“Busy ladies had no time to dwell on kisses.” — To Love and to Loathe
To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters is beguiling in the best of ways. Completely charming from the first page, I immediately got lost in the pages and found it hard to say goodbye.
Diana is a woman who not only knows what she wants, but will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Jeremy is the friend of Diana’s older brother. He is also an impossible rake and determined to win every verbal sparring contest he and Diana enter into. To Love and to Loathe reads like a combination of the matchmaking schemes of Jane Austen’s Emma, with the banter and obliviousness of feelings of Pride and Prejudice.
What surprised me the most is that even though Jeremy and Diana have always been at odds with each other, they both hold a great deal of respect for the other. Simple banter turns into a wager as to when Jeremy will find himself a wife. Diana becomes determined, and Jeremy equally so. When Jeremy finds himself in need of some reassurance of his bedroom skills, he takes it upon himself to solicit Diana to help him. They both agree to terms that guard their hearts and reputations, but when Jeremy’s Grandmother starts to scheme in order to help Diana win her bet, both Jeremy and Diana begin to realize that their feelings run deeper than what they had thought.
Watching Diana and Jeremy’s chess match of a relationship play out was wrought with romantic tension. The chemistry together was full of combustible energy, which made the culmination of their story really and truly a Happily Ever After. The one point of To Love and to Loathe that I felt was slightly off for me, was when one of the characters entrusts another with keeping a secret that would be in the height of scandal for the time. Unfortunately, that secret is not kept, and while that particular plot device was never resolved, it struck a weird chord for me.
Overall, I truly enjoyed To Love and to Loathe. I loved the setting, the vibrancy of the surrounding characters, and every interaction between Jeremy and Diana. If you love historical romance, specifically Regency Romance, then do not miss out on this one!