Summary from GoodReads:
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.
Did you read that summary? I mean, I know I skim them all the time, but seriously, go back and read it. I’ll wait.
If that isn’t enough to make you want to read this novel then nothing I can say is of any use. Seriously. That description says it all. Now, knowing that, you may continue.
What socially awkward girl can’t sympathize with Maddie? But boy does she go above and beyond to sell her story. She actually writes and mails letters to this “sweetheart.” She writes sincere and realistic letters to this imaginary penpal of hers. It was enrapturing. Then when he shows up on her doorstep, her reaction is priceless. I mean, it’s exactly what you’d expect, but that doesn’t make it any less amusing. You’re who? Here because why?
On one hand, I completely understood her position and sympathized with her, but on the other, I was rolling on the floor laughing at her antics. She was such an interesting character, imaginary boyfriend aside. That crippling anxiety is something I feel like all bookworms can relate to on one level or another. I definitely do. Even interacting with other bookworms. I liked the book, you liked the book, what more is there to say?
Logan wasn’t a character that instantly won me over. I got the loyalty to his men and his desire to provide for them as their leader, but blackmailing a woman was a little over the line for me. I mean, this is a romance novel, so we all know it’s going to end well, but that little voice in my head immediately perked up and whispered the dreaded “that’s not how real life works” line. In real life, you don’t fall in love with your blackmailer so that everything wraps up neatly. Again, I know this is a romance novel and I still love it regardless, but that voice in my head is getting persistent lately! Anyway, he did win me over eventually. He probably won’t ever be on that favorite male characters ever list, but he was quite enjoyable.
As I have insinuated, this premise of this novel immediately drew me in. That is not your typical historical romance plotline. I was a little nervous to start it because I’ve heard my fellow Avon Addicts talk about Tessa Dare’s awesomeness and I wanted to be on that bandwagon. I wanted to be part of that fan-group. When starting any book that I want to love, I’m always apprehensive. Will I enjoy it as much as everyone else? Will I be that one person who just doesn’t get it? Thankfully, that wasn’t an issue here. I loved every minute of this. I deliberately read it slowly to draw it out. It was just so good! It’s funny and witty and romance-y and everything I typically look for in HR. The blurb on the cover from Julia Quinn doesn’t hurt. I mean, I’ve never been one to buy into that whole this celebrity recommends this thing so it must be awesome, but I trust JQ.
Basically, all you need to know is that this is just as awesome as the summary promises it to be. It has lots of heart and humor and just generally kept me smiling. It’s not over the top in the drama department, which is something I have a difficult time dealing with these days. It’s basically perfect and I’ve now added all of Tessa’s other works to my TBR shelf and my book buying wishlist. That should say it all!