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Once Upon a Tower (Fairy Tales Book 5) Kindle Edition
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.
With a lady
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.
In a tower.
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?
“Eloisa James delights again with a story that’s both sophisticated and sweet, featuring layered characters who walk right off the page and into the reader’s heart.” (BookPage)
“James’ twist on Rapunzel sweeps readers away into a fairy tale full of deep emotion while exploring the themes of self-imposed imprisonment, family relations, love, marriage and what is at the heart of any relationship. James wraps big themes in a wonderfully romantic story, beautifully written, intelligent and unforgettable.” (RT Book Reviews (top pick) 4 1/2 Stars)
“a symphony of delights for romance readers, a lyrically written love story graced with richly nuanced characters and generously seasoned with the author’s incandescent wit.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Eloisa James’s writing is absolutely exquisite. She is one of the brightest lights in our genre...her writing is truly scrumptious.” (Teresa Medeiros)
“Eloisa James writes with a captivating blend of charm, style, and grace that never fails to leave the reader sighing and smiling and falling in love. Her style is exquisite, her prose pure magic. Nothing gets me to a bookstore faster than a new novel by Eloisa James.” (Julia Quinn)
“Eloisa James is extraordinary. With her sensuous and elegant style, inventive plotting and warm, human characters, she makes every book a treasure. A novel by Eloisa is a delicious treat that shouldn’t be missed. A wonderfully original voice in romance fiction!” (New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleyps) --This text refers to the mass_market edition.
- ASIN : B009NFMBH8
- Publisher : Avon (May 28, 2013)
- Publication date : May 28, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 1464 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 421 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #136,050 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2021
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Our hero is Gowan, an extremely wealthy Scottish duke, who has come to England for a business venture and always plans on finding a wife. I really enjoyed Gowan's character. I thought it was interesting that he was younger than most historical heroes (early twenties) though he shows considerably maturity due to the fact that he has held his current title since he was a young teen. Gowan has been a duke for almost ten years and has a ton of responsibilities which he is diligent about taking care of. His opinions of romance are shaped greatly by the complex relationship of his parents and it is obvious that he is desperate not to repeat those mistakes. Yet he falls for Edie and proposes rather quickly though he claims not to be an impulsive person by nature. I also need to mention another aspect of his character that I enjoyed which was the fact that Gowan is a virgin though still pretty sensual. This unusual predicament ends up being a major plot point that I don't want to spoil for possible readers, but I applaud Eloisa James for bringing it up.
Edie was a little harder for me like at the beginning. She is a beautiful lady with an amazing talent for playing the cello. Despite that, she has some self-esteem issues, mostly associated with being right for marriage and motherhood. This has forced her to have a very cynical view of love that is threatened by her growing feelings for Gowan. I started liking Edie when she began showing her more humorous side to Gowan early in their courtship and it gave me hope that she could be a worthy heroine for him since I was already rooting for him. Edie's views on love and romance have also been shaped by her observations of her father and stepmother's tumultuous marriage which helped me understand why she was afraid to address the issues that she and her husband were having in the bedroom. I did think she reacted a bit dramatically to Gowan's reaction, but I thought Eloisa James explained well enough by the end.
Gowan and Edie's relationship started off as an example of insta-lust so I was not sure about their compatibility beyond that. But, I began rooting for them when they started exchanging bawdy letters while Gowan was away on business. They seemed to connect with each other quickly and it was nice to see the balance between sexual tension (which was definitely visible) and emotional intimacy. They do have issues in the bedroom which I thought was an intriguing, and realistic, complication to their relationship. Both of them are virgins so it is to be expected that there would be some bumps on the road. Despite that, they did seem to want to work out their relationship (until a certain point) and were willing to know more about one another. There were some communication issues, but they did not annoy me the way that they usually do because of the realistic way that Ms. James showed their reactions. Also, it was nice to read a romance that focused primarily on the couple with very few subplots getting in the way.
The only major plot, besides Gowan and Edie's relationship, was a sweet secondary romance. It involved Edie's father and stepmother trying to get back to their initial feelings for another which was easier said than done. I thought this was a great choice because of the influence that this relationship had on Edie's outlook on romance. I love troubled marriage story lines so I definitely enjoyed this one.
One thing that I love about this series is the fact that Eloisa James is influenced by the original fairy tales, but she doesn't force herself to follow them literally. Once Upon a Tower is a retelling of Rapunzel and there is a tower involved, but it was a pretty minimal plot point and I didn't actually mind that. Most of the book was taken up by the events that forced Edie to go into the tower which is part of the Rapunzel fairy tale that I am always intrigued by though I loved the way she did the hero climbing the hair aspect at the end. Very clever and shows how dangerous that really can be!
In conclusion, I absolutely loved this romance and think it is in my top two from this series (the other being When Beauty Tamed the Beast). I definitely am looking forward to whatever Eloisa James comes up with next!
The story is getting better right toward the end when’s finally our H (Gowan) man up and deal with the mess he made. The built up toward the end is really emotional when words from our love one could destroy all the confidence and meaning of life (being a mother, based on woman perspective in old times) and how they resolve their problems. This is what I love about Eloisa James books, no matter how the story is fit to readers preferences or not (which we could see from different reaction from each comments- We reader have million minds!!) At some point there will be emotional trigger in each story that would made me cry every time. The book is so well written .
As for the whole series, is definitely worth my every minutes. These are fairy tales stories inspired, As for the books itself held little resemblance of original story which is a delight and new to read. Plus!!! I think I found a minor cross series between Julia Quinn (the Smyth-Smith) and Eloisa in this book! At first I thought it was just an coincidence but as soon as I found not 1 but 3 characters (Honoria, Daniel and Iris) there is no mistake this Easter egg. Thank you!!! It’s a surprise.
***SPOILER ALERT (skip to MY TAKE if you don't want a plot synopsis)***
The heroine is met at ball by a fiercely handsome Scotsman, only our lady is not feeling her best and barely remembers him. He is so taken that he meet her father the next day to arrange the details and given his status, the offer would not be declined. This is probably a lot more like how these marriages were arranged. But where this story takes a decidedly left (or right) turn, is that there's really no obstacle before the marriage. The soon to be bride and groom exchange letters to better know one another and find themselves falling for each other. Both are virgins, which is also a surprise. The bride-to-be also witnesses the domestic issues between her father and step-mother, which are intimate in nature, so she also tries to avoid their same dramatic issues. Again no major complication. The REAL issue arises on the wedding night and thereafter. Basically, the groom is terrible in bed, and instead of telling him, she fakes it based on bad but well-meaning advice. This creates a growing distance and affects their ability to interact through the lack of communication. Eventually it comes out and he's disappointed that she lied to him, and she's just spinning. A lot of negative things are said, etc, leading her to her tower and their eventual reconciliation. Naturally her parents are also reconciled, as they too find a better way to communicate about the disappointments in their marriage. And they all live happily ever after.
I actually really enjoyed the novel. It's not the hearts and flowers romance where people marry and everyone is perfect. It's a little more gritty than that (as gritty as a Historical Romance might ever be). The fact is marriage is hard. And no one wants to be the party responsible for failure and if you love your spouse, you don't want them to feel like they've failed you. That results in big issues that don't get communicated (especially if you speak in Cello and he speaks Scottish Traditionalist - you'll understand if you read it). That creates a chasm that continues to grow until you have a moat, or in this case a tower, that isolates you from your partner. At that point you need to breach that isolation and overcome your issues to make it work. I appreciated the different approach to introducing a more realistic obstacle than what is normally encountered and finding a way for everyone to make it right and live happily. Some parts are tougher to read, especially Gowan's massive blow-up at his wife (not really a spoiler, he's Scottish), but I appreciated the Eloisa's effort to depict a more realistic obstacle to offset the variant of the fairy tale being told.
I love romance novels. And most novels read as a storybook romance on their own. This one is a little less story book, and you may not like that, but it was well written and had me emotionally invested from the exchange of letters to the end. It's one of the best books I read this year, and I read an insane amount of books (approx 5-7/week with a full-time non-literary career). It's just not what you might be expecting, so I encourage you to buy it and go in pretending you haven't read her other works or have any preconceived expectations and I think you'll love it too.
Top reviews from other countries
The description of the book is a bit misleading.
And I just _have_to_ say that Layla was such a bitch to Gowan in that last argument and quite a bit untruthful with some of the things she repeted (I know that characters may be wrong and all, but it grates me) like that her husband would never strip her of her self respect - he did that few times in the book or that Edie is such a loving person - I haven't seen much evidence of that. Also if she held her fat tongue neither marriage would have so many troubles. Ugh !
The last few chapters saved this from being 2 stars, and fingers crossed that Eloise's next offering raises the bar again!