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A powerfully shy girl comes up with creating a gentleman suitor, and then finds herself forging a correspondence over the years to 'prove' it to her family, and save herself having to go out in society. Only the gentleman does actually exist, and has been receiving her letters!
The humour and embarrassment of this idea won me over from the start! I really liked Madeline's shy and humble character, and what I especially like (which Tessa Dare is very good at writing), is her passion for her job - illustrating wildlife. Only in a Tessa Dare romance book would you find the heroine drawing the mating cycle of lobsters...which is very slow going when you've got to wait for the female to molt!
Logan is a very likeable character, and his motivations are clear from the start so I didn't have any problems with thinking he was selfish or unfeeling (which I think some reviewers mentioned). One thing I did have difficulty with though, was the implication that Madeline had managed to hurt him by 'killing him off'. Even if her letters had made him feel close to her, I couldn't quite buy the idea that they both 'felt' a real connection through them.
Ignoring that though, this was a really great read - full of the quirky humour I adore!
This is a book I've patiently waited for. Well, not-so-patiently, really, but I waited for it. Looked forward to it. I've come to really really like Tessa Dare's novels and novellas, and when I saw it had gone live, it went to my Kindle straight away.
For me, this is what a modern historical/Regency romance should be like, and I don't care if it sounds like a contradiction - modern? Historical? Well, yeah. Don't try to be a 21st century Jane Austen. Don't even try to be a 21st century Georgette Heyer. Take heart and find your own voice. Combine it with a proper Regency feel (i.e. get the facts right) and a modern twist to make it delicious for nowadays' readers. I don't pick up a romance novel with the expectation of receiving a history lesson. I want to read an enjoyable + believable romance, nothing more, nothing less. Otherwise I'd pick up a non-fiction book.
So maybe Tessa Dare's heroines are a little more daring and a little less prim and proper. So maybe her heroes are a little more open-minded and a little less stiff-upper-lip. But it's all being delivered with wit and heart and charms and brilliant dialogues, with believable main characters and fleshed-out side characters. There's a background story, there's the individuals' dreams (or in Logan's case: the goal), there's fun and love and sexy times and a little heartache (thankfully no angsty drama nonsense) and a little drawback and lots of hope and more fun and love. And there you have it.
"Flirted? Don't be absurd." "You stare at me. You're fascinated." "It's just the kilt." "It might be partly the kilt. It's mostly the swagger."
I'd give five stars if not for the wounded hero trope. So Logan's traumatised, yeah well. Go figure. He's a soldier who has returned from war. But it's a little too close to the "if the right woman will love him just enough, he'll break down, open up and eventually heal". I mean, I know these things happen (thank God they do) and I wanted him to be able to tackle his nightmares, but it's all a bit too cliché and just a bit too rushed in the end. The epilogue isn't really necessary, it reads too rushed and hasty, like an afterthought, "come to think of it, here's what's happening next". I found this a litte irritating, and so it's one star off.
All in all, however, it's a highly enjoyable read, I loved it and I laughed a lot, too.
I loved the idea that the fictional hero of Maddie’s letters comes to greet her in real life. The letters to MacKenzie were awesome.. I laughed out loud a lot! I love it when there are letters involved in stories. The way she keeps changing his name. “MacFantasy, MacSleepy etc” too good! Both leads were wonderfully developed characters, and I didn’t want to stop reading.
I did deduct half a heart for something small -that I don’t want to say as it’s a spoiler - but whenever this happens in books.. it just bugs me, and that sometimes Logan seemed a bit too set out on revenge, which I did find out why near the end, but gave me mixed feelings during the rest of the book. So, I wasn’t sure if I liked him or not, I know I wanted to like him…. However, even taking those into consideration, this was a truly enjoyable book! What a wonderful series by Tessa Dare! I highly recommend it.
Original review posted at: http://paragraphsandpetticoats.blogspot.ca/
4.5/5. Charming, funny, but with great emotional depth also. Sociophobic Maddie invented an absent Higlander captain at sixteen to avoid going to London for the usual Season circus. To keep up appearances of a faithful fiancee, she diligently wrote regular letters to him and even wrote the replies back. Years later, her lies have escalated and allowed her to remain single and socially isolated, as she desired. Unfortunately, with pain in her heart, she had to kill off her beloved betrothed, before she became entrapped in the web of her own invention. She did not count on a tall, dashing, somewhat angry, real life Captain Mackenzie knocking on her door one day. Fantasies can come true, but can she handle the truth?
I really liked this series of books "Castles Ever After". I am also a fan of the author. But I especially liked this book. If I say more I feel I might reveal spoilers, but the characters are well written and stay true to themselves and support each other once they can see eye to eye. I also think honorable mention should be made to any book with a lobster chase in it!