When a Scot Ties the Knot (Tessa Dare)

September 9, 2015 Book Reviews 8 ★★★★½

When a Scot Ties the Knot (Tessa Dare)When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #3
Published by Avon on August 25, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC, Paperback
Source: the publisher, the publisher through NetGalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Also by this author: The Duchess Deal

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, the publisher through NetGalley.

Review

I loved this book! Tessa Dare has joined my short-list of favorite historical romance authors. When a Scot Ties the Knot mixes humor and tenderness in equal measure and adds a pair of characters who are far more right for each other than either of them could have guessed. The book grabbed me from the start, with Maddie’s whimsical letters to her nonexistent love… and when he turns up in the flesh determined to hold her to her “pledge”, I was hooked. I devoured the book in a single sitting.

Logan, the hero, is a wounded-hero type – emotionally, at least – wounded not only by the war but by… but that would be telling; you’ll have to find out for yourself. He paints himself as no gentleman, and certainly his insistence that Maddie follow through on her “promises” is hardly kind. But character is in intent as well as action, and Logan has good reasons for trying to secure Maddie’s hand and lands. He’s also surprisingly honorable in his dealings with Maddie. One of my favorite aspects of the book is how Maddie recognizes all the ways in which the man tugs at her heartstrings – which also means all the ways Dare is tugging at the reader’s heartstrings – and falls in love with him anyway, just as I did with the book. Well done, Ms. Dare! It’s quite a feat to point out the tropes and cliches you’re using and still have them work effectively.

As for Maddie, I adore her. She’s the ultimate introvert; in fact, she clearly has pretty severe social anxiety, which makes her panicked invention of an imaginary betrothal very believable. It’s sweet, funny, and at the same time almost painful to watch her lies balloon and grow until the only way she can escape it is to kill her “fiance” off. And her dismay when Logan actually turns up, in the flesh and insisting on marriage, had me laughing and sympathizing in equal measure. Maddie has a lot more courage than she thinks she does, though, and demonstrates it time and again. Her decision at the end of the book made me want to cheer.

Then there’s Maddie’s aunt, an eccentric and utterly delightful middle-aged woman with a mind of her own and the freedom to be a little outrageous. Enjoy her, but don’t sample any of her medicines if you know what’s good for you!

There are a number of improbable events in the book, but Dare makes it easy to accept them within the story, even as you recognize how unlikely they are. And if you don’t giggle about the lobsters at least once, you have no sense of humor whatever. But I guarantee you’ll also tear up at least once – though perhaps not over the lobsters.

If you love historical romance and you haven’t read any Tessa Dare yet, you really should. You can jump in here if you like. When a Scot Ties the Knot is the third in the Castles Ever After series, but I had no problem reading it as a standalong. And if you like this series, check out her Spindle Cove series; if you can swallow the initial premise, they are delicious. Which can really be said about any of Dare’s books, to be honest.

 

four-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Romance Reading Challenge
  • COYER Scavenger Hunt - Summer 2015

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