Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review - - When a Scot Ties the Knot

WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT
By Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: August 25, 2015


We all knew way back when the first Avon Fanlit contest happened, Tessa Dare was going to be a name we were going to know as well as we knew Eloisa James or Julia Quinn. While Tessa Dare stole my heart (and a place on my auto-buy list) with her Spindle Cove series, when she introduced her new series about damsels who inherit castles, the idea just titillated me. A castle. I mean, you know a castle must come with a library, and bitches love libraries. It was the sort of escapist idea I immediately embraced, identified with all the characters, and fell in love with just how brilliantly Tessa Dare makes me forget time, obligations, and housekeeping.

WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT is the third in this delectable series; and as is my way, I preordered and received my book the day of release. I took it with me to lunch, curling up on the chair and laughing like a hyena on the first page. Two grad students checked to make sure I was okay; I snorted at them and waved them away, never lifting my eyes from the book. The next day, at lunch, I continued snickering and if asked, telling people about this book. The Thursday after the release, I got a massage and told my masseuse about the book—and when she said it sounded good—I gave her my copy because by then I had received a free review copy and could finish it when I got home. I hope she loves it as much as I did. I hope you do too!

Maddie, our intrepid heroine, is a panic-attack-ridden SHY artist; and on her 16th year, when she is “threatened” by the prospect of a glorious London season, she does the unthinkable: she invents a fianc√©. A mysterious soldier who is off fighting for home and hearth—and she couldn’t imagine finding anyone else and thus participating in a London season. It worked—Maddie was as amazed as the rest of us—and then she had to keep up the pretense for five years, when she decided she needed him to be “killed off” so she could get the family to stop bugging her about when he was coming home. (Details. Tsk.) While she is keeping up the pretense, she had to write letters—for five years—to the fictitious Captain Logan MacKenzie, the love of her life.

Maddie inherits a castle and is saved from coming out of mourning and having to find a husband. In fact, at her castle, she’s quite content with her life. She lives with her beloved Aunt Thea and works on her illustrations. Her greatest ambition in life is to do illustrations of nature for an encyclopedia. Currently, she is keeping two lobsters, waiting for them to mate, so she can draw the illustrations for the Big Event.

Let that sink in. Our heroine wants to draw her pet lobsters copulating.

But this perfectly ordinary (if eccentric) world is disrupted when her fictitious fianc√© returns from the dead, taking up all the room in the parlor with his six foot plus, two hundred plus, brawny, hairy, Scottish self. She is even more flummoxed when he demands she make good on their promise to be married. If she refuses, he’ll have all her sent letters published, humiliating her and her family with her web of lies

She decides to marry him, in name only, at least long enough to find said letters and burn them; but meanwhile, she has to contend with his ragtag group of soldiers who become more endearing than a batch of mutt puppies, an inexplicable attraction to a man she never imagined existed and who is irking her every minute of the day to protect his own, and make sure no one figures out about her web of lies, which of course, she’s covering with another web of lies.

There were scenes in this book that made me go, “Really? Why is this scene here?” (because you do that as a writer) and then voila, it all made sense. It was really quite a miracle. Yes, this book has the sort of silliness Dare is known for doing; and it also has the emotional and intense vulnerability for which Dare is also known. And who knew a lobster could be such a perfect metaphor and foil for our shy heroine? It was just brilliant.

For me, it’s a Top Dish. Enjoy!

~Hellie



23 comments:

  1. What a terrific review! I have this book on my current Wish List and these great comments have only made me want to read it even more.

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    1. Connie, it's a wonderful book! I grinned, sighed, laughed out loud and enjoyed it from beginning to end.

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    2. Exactly what I did. In case my review was too unclear on that matter. :)

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  2. Great review, Hellie! I loved this one too. I particularly like the fairy tale twists Dare gives the Castles books.

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    1. Me too, Janga. The second book is still my favorite but this one is a close second!

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    2. I know the first book was a B&TB fairy tale; was the 2nd one (Marquess) a Cinderella like one then? Not sure what fairy tale this one is like. *sighs* I wish there was a romance novel book club in my neck of the woods so we could discuss these things!!! Maybe we just need an online version.

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    3. Hellie, I think TD doesn't so much revise fairy tales as use them with a clever twist. Note this passage in WASTTK:

      "Oh, to be Cinderella in all her soot-smeared, rag-clad misery. Maddie would have been thrilled to have a wicked stepmother lock her in the tower while everyone else went to the ball. Instead, she was stuck with a very different sort of stepmother—one eager to dress her in silks, send her to dances, and thrust her into the arms of an unsuspecting prince."

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  3. This book is at the top of my TBB list!

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  4. I have a couple books in front of When a Scot Ties the Knot on my TBR list and after this review, it may have to be moved up! Thanks for a fun review. I also knew we'd hear more from Tessa Dare when I picked up her first Spindle Cove novel, which is still my favorite of her books, for now. ;)

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    1. When I read Tessa Dare's 2009 debut, Goddess of the Hunt I called her a future star of romance. That star shines more brightly with every book she publishes. Hope you enjoy this one, Laura!

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    2. Yes, yes, move it up! *LOL* Spindle Cove cemented Tessa Dare for me.

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  5. I just started reading her and I'm so enjoying her stories!

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  6. Okay, you had me at the copulating lobsters. And illustrating them. Oh dear! Snort!

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    1. I'm telling you, if I'd been drinking anything I would have snorted it out. Be careful of what you're eating or drinking while you read--the book is a choking hazard.

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  7. I'm a huge Tessa Dare fan so I'll be reading this one soon. Thanks for the wonderful review. I can't wait to get started!

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  8. Sounds wonderful. I fell in love with Tessa Dare before even reading one of her books. Her book video using her daughter's toys was delightful. Who couldn't like something a person with that sense of humor would write. I look forward to reading this one.

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