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ARC Review: To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters

Publishing Date: April 5, 2022


The “sweet, sexy, and utterly fun” (Emily Henry, author of The People We Meet on Vacation) Regency Vows series continues with a witty, charming, and joyful novel following a seasoned debutante and a rakish theater owner as they navigate a complicated marriage of convenience.

Lady Emily Turner has been a debutante for six seasons now and should have long settled into a suitable marriage. However, due to her father’s large debts, her only suitor is the persistent and odious owner of her father’s favorite gambling house. Meanwhile, Lord Julian Belfry, the second son of a marquess, has scandalized society as an actor and owner of a theater—the kind of establishment where men take their mistresses, but not their wives. When their lives intersect at a house party, Lord Julian hatches a plan to benefit them both.

With a marriage of convenience, Emily will use her society connections to promote the theater to a more respectable clientele and Julian will take her out from under the shadows of her father’s unsavory associates. But they soon realize they have very different plans for their marriage—Julian wants Emily to remain a society wife, while Emily discovers an interest in the theater. But when a fleeing actress, murderous kitten, and meddlesome friends enter the fray, Emily and Julian will have to confront the fact that their marriage of convenience comes with rather inconvenient feelings.

With “an arch sense of humor and a marvelously witty voice that rivals the best of the Regency authors” (Entertainment Weekly), Martha Waters crafts another fresh romantic comedy that for fans of Julia Quinn and Evie Dunmore.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really loved this. Emily’s journey from the perfect untouchable innocent to her true self – determined, fiery, with a quick wit – was so, so very satisfying to watch. Julian was also great. I loved the family dynamics and the message of acknowledging how your upbringing affected you and then growing and asserting your independence.

Emily’s friends were wonderful and I loved their gatherings. And her interactions with Julian, as they both fell in love, were perfection. And the grand gesture at the end? Swoon-worthy.

Really, I just loved it all. I spent the entirety of the book with this huge smile on my face. It was so sweet and swoony and romantic and funny. The perfect romantic comedy. I will be rereading this one for sure and Martha Waters is now a must-read for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for providing an e-arc for review.

Favorite Quotes:

“Can I help you?” he asked her, somewhat grumpily.

“You getting married,” his sister said, quite decisively “is the best thing that has happened in years.”

…really, Frenchmen were very charming; it was a shame His Majesty’s Army had spent so much time trying to kill them over the past twenty years.

Here, a woman could take up space, speak loudly, draw the eyes of a crowd—or, alternately, could slip into a role behind the scenes, quietly doing her work just as well as the men who surrounded her—and Emily found both prospects not shocking but… exhilarating.

He loved her.

And what was truly galling was that it had taken a waistcoat that was an offense to God and man alike to make him realize it.

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