To Swoon and To Spar

Atria. (The Regency Vows, Bk. 4). Apr. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781668007907. pap. $17.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Viscount Penvale lost his family home, Trethwick Abbey, to his uncle at a young age, but vowed to get it back. Now his uncle is willing to sell, but in exchange Penvale must marry his uncle’s ward, Jane Spencer. Jane adores Trethwick Abbey and agrees to marry Penvale simply so she can stay, but all the while she’s hatching a plan to oust him just as she did his uncle, by manufacturing a haunting. The haunting, however, doesn’t go as planned because Penvale is determined to stay and improve life for his tenants and the local village. Jane eventually realizes Penvale is much more than a privileged aristocrat, and he discovers that her surly demeanor hides shyness and social anxiety. When the two host a house party, all manner of unexpected things happen.
VERDICT The fake-haunting plot sounds like gothic romance, but Waters’s latest “Regency Vows” novel (which follows To Marry and To Meddle) is a romantic comedy through and through. Although the chemistry between Jane and Penvale lacks a certain spark, readers will still be pleased that Jane ultimately decides to make room for Penvale in both Trethwick Abbey and her heart.
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