A Second Chance Romance and a Farewell to a Beloved Series
To Woo and to Wed: A Novel Book Cover To Woo and to Wed: A Novel
The Regency Vows
Martha Waters
Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Atria Books
February 6, 2024
ebook, paperback, audiobook

The final installment in the “hilarious and steamy” (PopSugar) Regency Vows series follows the heir to a dukedom and a young widow, once very much in love, as they reunite years later to fake an engagement for the benefit of her sister.

West, the Marquess of Weston, and Sophie, Lady Fitzwilliam Bridewell, have lately been spending a considerable amount of time together. But West and Sophie are not new acquaintances. In fact, years ago, they had once been nearly engaged until West’s almost fatal curricle accident and his meddling father threw them off course.

Now recently widowed, Sophie has put aside all thoughts of romance. But when her widowed sister, Alexandra, mentions a fondness for an earl, Sophie realizes that she may be holding her sister back. Alexandra won’t move forward with an engagement until Sophie, too, settles down again, and so Sophie approaches West with a plan. They will announce their engagement and break things off once Alexandra is happily married. It’ll be simple. After all, it’s not like she is going to fall for West a second time, not when Sophie has sworn not to risk her heart again.

She felt a bit exasperated with herself at the discovery that she, like most other women on earth, appeared to have a bit of a weakness for tall, dark, and handsome men.

To Woo and to Wed by Martha Waters is the final installment of The Regency Vows series and one that fans have looked forward to the most. With glimpses, teases, and small cameos in previous books in the series, Sophie and West finally get a chance to share their HEA and round out a beloved series.

With a nod to Persuasion, Sophie and West (seven years prior) had—what all peerage had assumed—was a forgone conclusion to a courtship and inevitable marriage announcement. No one but Sophie and West knows the truth behind the fallout seven years ago that ultimately ended up with Sophie being married to another and West having survived a horrific accident.

Everyone called him West, it was true; to do otherwise would have drawn more attention to them in company. But this did not diminish the small jolt of pleasure he got every time he heard her say his name.

In their present time, Sophie’s sister, Alexandra, is also a widow and yet found herself with a chance at a true love match. Unwilling to leave her sister behind, Alexandra refuses to consider marriage unless Sophie is happy. You know what that means. It’s shenanigan time. Sophie, being the selfless, stubborn, martyr that she is, goes to the one person she can trust with a fake marriage proposal: Lord Weston.

This is where all the shenanigans begin to unfurl hopelessly around both Sophie and West. Naturally, West is still hung up on Sophie. Obviously, Alexandra begins to suggest wild and more ridiculous situations in order to test Sophie’s feelings regarding an engagement. On top of it all, Sophie remains resolute in following her farce of a plan regardless of how many times West lays everything on the line for her.

For years, all he had wanted—more than to kiss her, or hold her, or make love to her—was simply to talk to her. She was his favorite person to talk to. She was, he feared, still his favorite person, period.

If you’re a reader who enjoys mountains of angst, then To Woo and to Wed is the romance for you. Following each present-day chapter, there is a chapter with flashbacks to a moment in time for either Sophie and West. Their almost romance from seven years unfolds slowly giving more details and even more angst with each reveal. I found myself brought out of the storyline one too many times with how the storyline went. The fact that it was broken up with flashbacks felt more jarring than informative. It also took (in my opinion) entirely too long for Sophie to get with the program. If I had a chiseled, duke, proclaim his love for me (repeatedly), I would not have waited for so damn long.

Overall, Too Woo and to Wed was a pleasant read. I love how all the previous couples make an appearance, and the HEA was very romantic. I think Waters is a wonderful storyteller but I think this second chance romance felt a bit too angsty for me. Still, I cannot wait to see what Waters has in store for all of us readers next!