Publication date: August 6, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: MacGregor Trilogy #2
I am always amazed at how Grace Burrowes seems to effortless craft one mesmerizing tale after another, each filled with scorching passion and tantalizing romance. This book is no different. In fact, I like this story much better than The Bridegroom Wore Plaid (MacGregor series #1) due to the poignant character dynamics explored between Tye and Hester.
Tiberius (Tye) Flynn, the Earl of Spathfoy, has been coerced by his father to retrieve his niece, Fiona, a task he finds most tiring due to his lack of interaction with children. Together with Fiona is Hester Daniels, who is in ways hiding from society due to an unfortunate scandal. At first, neither quite liked the other as Tye was used to being cold and austere and Hester dearly loved and wanted her niece to be happy. Yet somehow they struck an odd friendship, and even more quickly, found their smoldering passion too brilliant to ignore.
I find Tye to be a rather enigmatic individual, and more complex than Hester. He has the soul of a wounded child underneath the nonchalant exterior of an earl, where he resents his family and his fate, but lacks the strength to truly defy them until the end. His humor and mannerisms are also both childlike and aristocratic, which makes him a very conflicted hero for most of the book. While it was mostly amusing to watch Tye's inner struggles as he tries to be a good uncle and resist his desire for Hester, ultimately it is the meaning of true love that helped calm his raging soul. The relationship between Tye and Hester was in-between friends and lovers, but Hester's gentle love and selfless devotion to others helped to not only mend the hurt in Tye's heart, but also proved true the adage "love conquers all."
Once Upon a Tartan is yet another demonstration of Grace Burrowes's superb writing; her captivating characters are able to create life in any setting, themselves wholly intriguing and complex. Add to it a fantastic plot and a romantic Scottish setting, here is a book to enchant all lovers of romance. Highly recommended!
*ARC received from the publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 4.5 tulips