Book Review: To Swoon and to Spar by Martha Waters

About the Book:

Title: To Swoon and To Spar

Author: Martha Waters

Series: The Regency Vows

Page Length: 336

Publication Date: April 1,, 2023

Publisher: Atria Books

Synopsis: 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.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

Happy book birthday to To Swoon and to Spar, the fourth installment of The Regency Vows series by Martha Waters. This romance follows Viscount Penvale and Jane Spencer as they enter into a marriage of convenience and get more than they ever bargained for.

Penvale has worked for years to buy back his ancestral home from his uncle. so, when his uncle announces he’s finally ready to sell, Penvale leaps at the chance. However, in purchasing the estate, he must also marry Jane Spencer, his uncle’s ward. Jane adores the estate and is determined to live there alone. She, with the help of the staff, “haunts” the house in an effort to frighten Penvale away. But Penvale isn’t as scared as Jane and the others hoped, and Jane soon sees that Penvale is not the man she thought he was. Can this unlikely pair find love?

This was a fun read! It has a lot of humor, some great banter, and the fake haunting was fantastic. At first, Penvale and Jane don’t really get along or understand each other. There is little chemistry between them, and their romance is gradual. I like that this par becomes friends first. They learn so much about each other, especially since they are at a country estate away from the hustle, bustle, and distractions of the city. Penvale begins to see past Jane’s prickly demeanor, and Jane sees that Penvale has much more substance than she originally thought. They both seem a little surprised by their growing feelings, but between their antagonistic and sometimes flirtatious banter and their late-night excursions to investigate the hauntings, there’s clearly a depending bond between them.

Penvale is so thoughtful, especially when he realizes Jane struggles with shyness. Her rudeness and standoffish personality hides her shyness well, but it also doesn’t endear her to anyone. But Penvale understands her. He’s such a sweetheart, and I love how considerate he is of her feelings and worries. Jane is an introvert and content with a solitary life, but Penvale has a large group of friends. Needless to say, they’re quite daunting to Jane. I like how considerate Penvale is of Jane’s feelings and how Jane slowly begins to open up to him and his friends.

This was a fun and romantic addition to the series, and though it’s the fourth book, you don’t have to read the others to follow this one. Special thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The banter.


  • only one bed
  • marriage of convenience

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