Once Upon A Tower

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Expected Release Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Avon
Author’s Website: www.eloisajames.com
My Source for This Book: Amazon.com
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy
Pet Peeves: Suspected Infidelity
Favorite Tropes: Virgin Hero, No Villain

Official Blurb:

Once upon a time…
 
A duke fell in love
 
Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, values order and self-control above all else. So when he meets a lady as serene as she is beautiful, he promptly asks for her hand in marriage.
 
Edie–whose passionate temperament is the opposite of serene–had such a high fever at her own debut ball that she didn’t notice anyone, not even the notoriously elusive Duke of Kinross. When her father accepts his offer… she panics.  And when their marriage night isn’t all it could be, she pretends.
 
But Edie’s inability to hide her feelings makes pretending impossible, and when their marriage implodes, she retreats to a tower–locking Gowan out. Now Gowan faces his greatest challenge.  Neither commands nor reason work with his spirited young bride. How can he convince her to give him the keys to the tower…
 
When she already has the keys to his heart?

What Worked For Me:

  • I really liked that while Gowan and Edie became engaged rather quickly in a decidedly unromantic manner, their actual marriage was not something that either was truly reticent to enter. Their courtship may have been rather fast, but I still got the sense that they both at least liked each other quite a bit before they actually got married, which is a refreshing change from some romances these days.
  • On a similar note, I’m not usually a big fan of Love At First Sight, but I really enjoyed that Gowan was so enamored with Edie upon their first meeting that he was willing to rush into a marriage. More than that, though, I loved that they both got to know each other a bit through some rather cheeky letters and that they weren’t actually marrying based on false first impressions.
  • Gowan was only 23, which is rather young for a romance hero, and in turn made some of his actions a little more understandable than had he been about ten years older.
  • I really enjoyed the nods to both Rapunzel (which is, in fact, one of my absolute favorite fairy tales of all time by the way) and Romeo and Juliet.
  • Two words: Virgin Hero *happy sigh*
  • loved that there was no actual “villain” in the story, and that the big issue in their marriage was based on wounded pride and misplaced vanity.  It was such a realistic problem, and therefore not one you often see in romance novels, and I really enjoyed the entire misunderstanding.
  • I almost cheered when Gowan finally realized the extent of his stupidity — not only in the reaction of the servants but in his own Grand Gesture towards his wife.
  • Strangely enough, I really enjoyed the secondary romance of sorts between Edie’s father and her stepmother, especially since her stepmother was actually pretty close to Edie’s own age.
  • The epilogue was wonderful, and I’m definitely a sucker for a good epilogue that secures the Happily Ever After.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • I hate to have to include this, but as it skimmed along a major pet peeve of mine…
    SPOILER ALERT SelectShow Spoiler
  • I didn’t particularly care for Layla’s behavior towards Suzanna. While I understood that this gave her a bit of a Happily Ever After that she hadn’t had beforehand, I felt that it did a great disservice to Edie. This was a relatively minor note, since it soon became clear that the author did this intentionally (as the characters later go on to say the same thing about Layla’s behavior negatively affecting Edie).

A whirlwind romance between a musical prodigy heroine and a virgin Duke hero, a disappointing wedding night, and faking the “Big O” — all of these things add up to a wonderful romance between two people who were absolutely meant for each other.

I adored the nods to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as well as Rapunzel, but more than that, I absolutely fell in love with Edie and Gowan, and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I read.

The only real negative point was that the story skirted dangerously close to my top Pet Peeve, and for a few short chapters, that severely pulled down my enjoyment.  However, a beautiful Grand Gesture and an amazing epilogue pulled through in the end, and I can easily say that this one is now firmly ensconced on my Keeper Shelf.

04stars4/5 Stars