To Love and To Loathe

S. & S. Audio. Apr. 2021. 352p. 10:45 hrs. ISBN 9781797121406. $23.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
When Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham, learns that his latest conquest complained about his skills in the bedroom, he is overcome with doubt about his rakish past. What is a marquess to do but ask a favor of the one woman whose sharp tongue and clear disdain ensure she’ll give him a fair critique—if she accepts his scandalous request. Widowed and on the hunt for more experience herself, Diana, Lady Templeton, is slightly shocked when Jeremy asks if she’ll share his bed, especially since they have been at odds ever since her debut. When Jeremy invites Diana and their friends to an extended house party, Diana decides she’ll take advantage of Jeremy’s offer to gain confidence in her own search for a paramour. Narrators Anais Inara Chase and Joel Froomkin lend haughty, droll British accents to Diana and Jeremy’s banter and antics. Some listeners may want to speed up the narration.
VERDICT Despite the premise, this is a decidedly slow-burn romance, with much of the story spent on Diana plotting to throw party guest Lady Helen at Jeremy in an attempt at misdirection and to win a bet. The lovely moments between Diana and Jeremy as they explore their growing attraction do not stand up to the book’s troubling treatment of the character of Lady Helen.
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