To Love and to Loathe
By Martha Waters
What it’s about?
The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.
After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.
Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.
What I think?
This is a fun, if somewhat silly book.
Diana and Jeremy clearly fancy the pants off each other and mistake their constant bickering for disliking each other when it is clear to almost everyone else that it is indeed the opposite.
They agreement to a brief fling during a house party. It will give Jeremy some truthful feedback on his sexual performance and Diana some more experience after her short-lived marriage to a much older man may have given her security but definitely not passion.
There’s lots of gossip, lots of sex and lots of arguing. The polite conventions of society get forgotten on occasion when Diana and Jeremy let their emotions get the better of them and are less than mindful about their behaviour in public.
This can be frustrating in places as the inevitable resolution is dragged out a bit. And some of the characters behave in some very unrealistic ways, but you can suspend you disbelief and accept the book for what it is.
This is perfect rainy day escapism that will fill the gap while you wait for the next series of Bridgerton to drop on Netflix.