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.
I’ve had mixed luck with Tessa Dare books, ranging from four-star delights to a Regency that felt like a contemporary plus some fancy dresses.
Well, if there were any historical inaccuracies in When a Scot I’m not versed in the era enough to notice them. The book is laced with Kazen catnip – letters, banter, a marriage of convenience, a woman that wants a career, and a man that wants to see her succeed at it. The energy and playful exchanges propelled me through the first half and left me curious how the plot would resolve. But instead of resolving the obstacles to a happily ever after just… fizzled. This or that ceased to matter, a character decides that xyz isn’t worth the effort any more. The HEA does come, of course, but it feels inevitable for a long time.
Luckily there’s a delightful cast of secondary characters to enjoy, from Logan’s ragtag soldiers to Maggie’s aunt to a pair of pet lobsters (yes really). These characters do more to drive the book than the plot, which may or may not be your thing. Personally the declining action got to me so while this is an utterly enjoyable read I can’t quite give it five stars.