Review: Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James


Once Upon a Tower (Fairy Tales #5) by Eloisa James
Avon (May 28, 2013)

Rating: B+
Heat: Warm

Heroine: Edith Gilchrist – Musician, Lady 
Hero: Gowan Stoughton – Scottish, Duke 




Lady Edith Gilchrist was brought up to be a proper English lady. The only daughter of an Earl, it’s no surprise that her debut is a resounding success. Edie, who is a talented musician and spends every waking moment with a cello between her legs, is considered a diamond of the first water. She has an almost ethereal glow to her as she dances that night and, coupled with her quiet demeanor, she’s what every young man simply can’t resist. If only that glow wasn’t due to a fever and her quietness due to her head being too foggy to think, let alone speak.

Gowan Stoughton, Duke of Kinross and all-around big, tall and strapping Scotsman, is drawn to Edie immediately. The usually responsible and rigid Duke is overcome by her beauty and grace. Two dances and he knows he has to have her for his Duchess. And, after convincing her father to agree to a betrothal, Gowan starts a one-man crusade to convince Edie he’s the man for her.

Edie, who often has to play the part of peacekeeper between her father and stepmother, is not easily won. In order to avoid the mistakes her parents made, she decides to be open and honest with her fiancĂ©. So she writes him a letter, and he writes her back, and the two have what is one of the most open and honest betrothals. If only it didn’t quickly start unraveling once they say ‘I do'.

Because Edie has one of the worst first times ever on her wedding night. Pain, discomfort, and a man who can go and go when all she wants is for him to stop and stop. So, naturally, to get the pain to end, she decides to pretend to have an orgasm. And then continues to fake it the next few times too. Fake it till you make it turns out to be horrible advice once Gowan actually ‘makes it’ and realizes his wife has been lying to him.

Oh, Edie. Edie, Edie, Edie. The lack of communication between these two and the distance that grew between them figuratively, and then literally, was tough for me read. The solution was so simple and yet neither opened their mouths... Well, except to say all the wrong things.

And, even though I loved the stepmother/daughter relationship between Edie and Layla, if Edie had only spent that much time and effort with Gowan instead… I would have been much happier. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Layla. Even if she was a bit crazy and misguided. I just wish Gowan and Edie had the same, or more, page time. There was way too much focus on Layla and Edie’s father’s failing relationship while Edie and Gowan’s got pushed aside.

Once Upon a Tower was sweet and endearing and proved love at first sight is not always easy but, if it’s real, it’s more than worth it. Eloisa always manages to infuse her novels with real issues, taking fairy tales and making them believable. In Once Upon a Tower we find that our hero, while well-endowed and enthusiastic, was still a bumbling and fumbling virgin. And isn’t it refreshing to have a hero, though still a fantasy, not get it right the first time?

Thoughts While Reading:

43.0% - "Ah, yes, gotta love Scots and their big....... well, you know."
85.0% - "Gowan. Seriously?"


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