A Reckless Match (Ruthless Rivals: Book 1) by Kate Bateman

Book Cover

Publisher: St. Martins Press, St. Martins Paperbacks

Date of Publication: September 28th 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Series: Ruthless Rivals

A Reckless Match—Book 1

A Daring Pursuit—Book 2 (expected publication date May 24 2022)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible |Barnes & Noble | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher


Goodreads Synopsis:

The first in a new regency romance series about two feuding families and reunited childhood enemies whose hatred turns to love.

Maddie Montgomery’s family is in debt, and her hope rests on the rival Davies clan missing their yearly “pledge of goodwill,” ceding the land that separates their estates. With Maddie’s teenage nemesis, Gryffud “Gryff” Davies, Earl of Powys, away, hope is in reach.

But then, Gryff shows up and is stunned that the tomboy he once teased is now a woman. When Gryff and Maddie discover contraband on their land, they realize it can benefit both families. But they’ve also uncovered a dangerous plot, and they need to work together to get out alive. Soon, their hatred for each other starts to feel more like attraction.

Kate Bateman brings crackling banter, steamy romance, and a dash of adventure into the first book in the Ruthless Rivals series.


First Line:

“Nobody’s coming.”

Madeline Montgomery squinted down the empty road as a thin bubble of hope – a foreign sensation of late- rose in her breast.

a reckless match by kate bateman

I know that I have mentioned this here before, but I adore historical romance. I love reading about how people back in Regency England (or any era, to be honest) courted. Among my favorite authors is Kate Bateman. So, when I saw that she had a new book out, I knew I had to read it!!

A Reckless Match is the first book in the Ruthless Rival series. This book has set the tone for the rest of the series. I can’t wait to see how the other books are going to be.

I was thrilled to see that the author had decided to set A Reckless Match on the border of England and Wales. If you think of Regency romances, you automatically think of England and Scotland. Ireland and Wales are not even mentioned unless there is a villain involved. So, yes, I was happy to see that the book was set on the border and that Gryffud (aka Gryff) was Welsh.

An enjoyable family feud (I never thought I said those two words together) explains why Maddie and Gryff’s family hates each other. Because of a King’s decree (200 years previously), a representative from each family must meet at the shared property boundary and shake hands. The meeting happens every five years. If someone doesn’t show up, the land automatically forfeits to the other family. This time around, it was up to Maddie and Gryff to present and shake hands.

The romance angle of A Reckless Match was wonderfully written. It was your typical enemies to lovers trope. What I loved it that Gryff was the first one to realize that he loved Maddie and that it was fairly early in the book. What made the romance angle for me was Maddie realizing that she loved Gryff and all the shenanigans it caused.

Maddie wasn’t your typical English miss. She wasn’t interested in getting married. Instead, she was interested in archeology and getting a specific tome for her father. I liked her and connected with her.

I loved Gryff. Not only was he tall, dark, and handsome, but he was in touch with his feelings. He knew how he felt about Maddie reasonably early in the book. Because of the feud, he decided to keep a lid on his feelings and help her find out about the smugglers. He also wanted to help her, moneywise (her father went into debt with gambling) but couldn’t figure out how to do it without her getting prickly. It was fantastic to read the book from his perspective and to see Maddie through his eyes.

There is a suspense angle of the book that was very well written. The smugglers, who are mentioned throughout the first half of the book, were brought into the storyline in a shocking way towards the end of the book. Everything that happened after the explosion made one of the most sexually charged sex scenes I have ever read (no light, just sensations, was perfect).

The end of A Reckless Match was your typical HEA. In the next book, I haven’t figured out if Hattie and Rhys or Tristan and Carys will be. But I can’t wait to read it regardless of who will be next.


I would recommend A Reckless Match for anyone over the age of 21. There are explicit sex scenes, mild language, and moderate violence.

Author: Jolie

I love to read. My favorite genres are women's fiction, romance, psychological thrillers, fantasy, young adult, steampunk, dystopian, LGBTQIA, and paranormal. I am also a busy mom of 3 kids and 5 cats

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