To Marry and to Meddle (The Regency Vows 3)

Written by Martha Waters
Review by Meg Wiviott

It has been six seasons since she made her debut, and still Lady Emily Turner is not married. Though her reputation is spotless, she is courted only by the loathsome owner of the gambling den to whom her father owes a small fortune. Lord Julian Belfry should be married as well; he is the second son of a marquess. But alas, he is also the owner of a theatre, and not just any theatre, but one to which men bring their mistresses, not their wives. While attending a house party, Julian proposes to Emily a solution to their troubles—a marriage of convenience.

Unhappiness ensues, however, when Emily realizes that to help Julian, she must remain a society wife—attending dull, boring teas when she’d much rather assist him in the theatre. But that would defeat the whole purpose of the marriage, as her association with the theatre would damage her reputation. Still, it does not take long for both Emily and Julian to realize there is more to this marriage than convenience.

This is the third installment in the Regency Vow series. While there are references to antics from the previous two novels, To Marry and to Meddle stands fairly well on its own. Both Emily and Julian, who feel a bit like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy without the animosity, are likeable and genuine. Emily’s struggles to break from societal norms, and Julian’s quest for his father’s approval seem like polar opposites yet work well in Waters’ capable hands. The chemistry between the two is undeniable, leaving little room for surprises. Still, this story is a joyful romp. High jinks abound, along with witty and farcical dialogue. This is simply a fun book to read.