Once Upon a Tower

Written by Eloisa James
Review by Nanette Donohue

Scotsman Gowan Stoughton, Duke of Kinross isn’t a believer in love at first sight – until he spots Lady Edith Gilchrist at a ball in 1824. He’s in the market for a wife, she’s ready to marry, and the negotiations proceed very quickly. Soon, Edie realizes that she’s about to marry a man she barely knows, and Gowan has no clue that Edie’s one true passion is playing the cello. Fortunately, their passionate attraction leads to love, but unfortunately, their love life leaves something to be expected. When Gowan catches Edie in a little white lie, he furiously decamps for the Highlands, leaving Edie to pick up the pieces of their broken marriage.

This is the latest in James’s series of fairy tale-inspired romances, and though the Rapunzel analogy is a bit of a stretch, it’s a firecracker of a love story. True to James’s style, there are some fantastic supporting characters, including Edie’s eccentric stepmother Layla, who has marital problems of her own, and Gowan’s half-sister Susannah, a sprightly young Scottish lass with a mind of her own. Once Upon a Tower is unique in that it isn’t so much about courtship as it is about what comes afterwards. The combination of light humor and thoughtful romance make this a must-read for historical romance fans.