Monday, July 11, 2016

When A Scot Ties The Knot





















When A Scot Ties The Knot (Castles Ever After Series #3)- Tessa Dare
AvonBooks Publisher
Release Date: August 25, 2015

Rating (out of 5):
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Synopsis: On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shy, 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've only recently discovered the joy that is reading books by Tessa Dare, and all I can say to anyone who hasn't tried her books yet is: start now! 

When A Scot Ties The Knot is the third book in Dare's Castles Ever After series- a series that doesn't have to be read in order for you to fully enjoy each book.  It's the story of Madeline Gracechurch, a shy woman more at home drawing or reading than dancing and visiting.  At age 16 she invents a mythical Scottish soldier to explain to her family and friends why she doesn't want to go to London and meet potential suitors.  Why look for Mr. Right when Captain McRight has already stolen her heart? She strengthens this fiction by writing him letters, assuming they will end up in some dead letter box somewhere and that will be the end of it.  Her family believes her story, no one bothers her about London Seasons, and she falls in love with her imaginary Captain Logan MacKenzie over years of letter writing.  Eventually she realizes that the only way to end the lies is to kill off her Scot.  So she's beyond surprised when the real Captain Logan MacKenzie shows up, having read all of her letters, at the castle she's inherited, ready to marry her.

Of course the real Logan is not quite what she'd imagined.  He refuses to believe he has dreams, hopes, or emotions.  He's naturally a little peeved that she killed him off.  He wants to marry her because he and the remaining Scottish soldiers under his command have returned from fighting Napoleon to find their sweethearts have married others, families have died or moved away, and their homes have been destroyed by the Highland Clearances.  Logan needs the castle and land Maddie promised in her letters as a new home for his men, and he's ready to blackmail Maddie to get his way.  After all, what would her family and friends think of the fact that she's been lying to them for years?  They agree to a marriage of convenience, and things promptly get, well, not convenient.

Maddie is a strong and independent woman who thinks she's a shy and weak wallflower.  She has a paralyzing terror of crowds and has let that dictate her entire life.  She's a wonderfully written character full of depth, intelligence, and humor.  She doesn't let Logan blackmail her because she cares about Society, but because she cares about what her friends and family will think, and because it would most likely damage her burgeoning career as an illustrator.  But she's also a romantic and has a hard time hating Logan, especially when she watches him with his men, or when he's talking to her, or when he's . . . anything.

Logan is a far more complex, and it's easy to make the mistake of thinking he's a shallow and underdeveloped character acting more as a prop for Maddie than as his own person.  But by the time you get to the end of the book you realize Logan is, if anything, an even more layered character and more affected by his past than Maddie.  

When A Scot Ties The Knot explores not only a wonderful romance between two people who believe they are very different, but also explores how we can trap ourselves into thinking we are one thing when we've secretly grown into something different, and how the dreams that we once had can change into something different (and maybe better) without our noticing.  How do you choose between new love and old dreams? It's a book of brilliant wit and humor, a beautifully described Highland setting, and more kilted soldiers than you can shake a sporran at.  And of course, a lobster named Fluffy who manages to steal the show without saying a word.
















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