Today, I thought I’d chat to you about two books I recently read and my thoughts on them. I wasn’t sure I’d have to say a lot for individual reviews, so I am joining them in a recently read post! One is a historical romance, and the other is a literary fiction so we are very on brand today. Let’s jump in!
To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters
This book caught my attention because it’s companion, To Love and to Loathe is coming out this year, and it’s a historical frenemies romance, which just put the author immediately on my radar. To Have and to Hoax follows James and Violet, who were awfully in love when they got married, but have been in an ongoing fight for the past few years. However, when Violet receives a letter that James got hurt and rushes to his side, only to find him very well and unharmed, she decides to give him a taste of his own medicine.
This was honestly so great. When I first saw the reviews for the book, I got lowkey worried but I needn’t have worried, because this was a great match for me personally. Where as other readers might find this slow, I found it incredibly angsty and tense, so I loved that it was a bit drawn out and slow. This book also hinges on miscommunication and a conflict that is rather ridiculous, however, I personally enjoy when characters share a single brain cell and cannot communicate properly because this allowed for such an angsty read, and I loved every second of it.
The characters in here were marvelous – I enjoyed both Violet and James immensely as individuals, and I loved their relationship even more. This book has some of the best written romantic tension EVER in my opinion, and the banter and interactions between the characters were unparalleled. I loved every time that they got into a fight because they are obviously useless at communicating how much they care about each other, and it was so much fun to experience that. I also think that the author was splendid at establishing their prior feelings and relationship, making this one of the few second chance romances that worked for me. The supporting cast of characters is also FANTASTIC and a lot of fun, and the dynamic between the whole group is so well done. This was a delightful surprise and a book I will definitely revisit in the future and I cannot wait to read whatever the author does next.
Lanny by Max Porter
The second read was not as much of a success. Lanny is difficult to explain, but it mostly focuses on a village in England and its people, mostly a young boy named Lanny and the people that surround him. I was a huge fan of Grief is the Thing With Feathers, and I felt a strong emotional connection to that book. However, after finishing Lanny, I cannot help but think that once you’ve read one Porter novel, you’ve read them all. His writing is very stylized and from that point of view, I cannot help but admire it. It’s a really well written book, that really uses its experimental form to its potential. But beyond that I did not care much for this story. I enjoyed the first part and the build up, but once we got to the actually harrowing part of it, I felt so emotionally detached and I kind of did not care. That sounds bad, especially given the themes this book explored, but I just think that there was not a lot of character depth and work here, nor did this pack an emotional punch for me personally.
I would love to hear from you! Tell me if you have read any of these books and how you felt about them, I would love to know. And what were some of your recent reads?
In the meantime, happy reading
*If you want to buy any of the books I talked about, you can use my Bookshop affiliate link if you’re in the USA! You buy a book and support local bookstores, and I get a small commission! Even if you do not want to use my own affiliate link, I would still recommend using Bookshop.org since a lot of independent bookstores are struggling and this is a nice way to help them out. You can even find your favorite local bookstore and support them directly!
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