Book Review

Book Review: To Swoon and to Spar (The Regency Vows #4) by Martha Waters

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Martha Waters
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: April 11th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


The Regency Vows series returns with this story about a viscount and his irascible new wife who hopes to chase her husband from their shared home so that she can finally get some peace and quiet—only to find that his company is not as onerous as she thought.

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.

Thank you to Book Club Favorites and Simon and Schuster for the gifted copy!


This was my first book in this series that I’ve read and I enjoyed it! I am a sucker for marriage of convenience tropes and I thought this was a slightly different take on the start of their relationship.

I thought Penvale and Jane had some good chemistry and really did have that nice slow burn as they realized how much they truly connected with each other. I loved the forced proximity and one bed moments and watching their passions ignite.

The only thing I didn’t quite get was the ghost-based plot? I don’t know, it seemed kind of silly when the story came out at the end. Without that, I think it’s a great historical romance and it was easy to read as a standalone! I noticed the mentions of the other couples but that doesn’t bother me! There were a good group of friends and I’m thinking about now going back and reading the others.

Overall audienc notes:

  • Historical Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: brief/vague open door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: grief/loss depiction, loss of parents recounted

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