Review: When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Pub Date: Sept 2015
Length: 376 pages
FTC: Purchased myself
Although I normally love Tessa Dare's books, this one just didn't measure up to her normally high standards. It's not terrible. In the sea of fluffy historical romance, it will still stand out. It's just not as deeply emotional as usual, and her distinctive voice has been muted. House style was a little heavy handed this time, Avon. :(
There are some redeeming qualities, for sure. The best of which is the not-yet-mating lobsters. I guess I was hoping for a bit more along the lines of Ravished by Amanda Quick: an almost fanatical devotion to her "hobby." I wanted there to be some real emotional investment in her talent, but I just didn't really get that from the book. Even the claustrophobia and anxiety around crowds that Madeline suffers from didn't have the same emotional depth that I usually get from Dare's writing. The confrontation with a soldier experiencing mental problems also failed to have the suspense I was hoping for.
Maybe it's me, but it feels like this would have been a different, but so much better book, if Dare weren't aiming for the Avon style of light romance. The humor is here, but it's not balanced with the emotional gut-punch that Dare normally delivers. The genre needs those emotionally resonant books. Fingers crossed for Dare's next book, because she's more than capable of writing that kind of story.
My Grade B-
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.