Series: Castles Ever After #3
Publisher: HarperAudio / Avon
Pub. Date: August 25, 2015
Narrator: Carmen Rose
Length: 8 hrs 37 min
I have had a lot of fun with the Castles Ever After series by Tessa Dare. I was listening to this third installment while I was at the RT Convention, where I got to meet Tessa (super nice!) and won these awesome gift baskets from her. Keep an eye out because I will be hosting a giveaway on the bloggity soon for a signed book and some swag!
Carmen Rose has done a fabulous job narrating the series, but I have to say that this was my favorite performance from her. She portrayed our Scots perfectly, from the brogue to the cadence, and I just loved listening to her.
Madeline "Maddie" Gracechurch was a heroine close to my heart, shy and awkward to the extent that she freezes in a terrorized panic when in a crowd. To avoid a London season, she invents a fiance, one who is away fighting the war so she never been seen with him. Maddie writes to her fake beau regularly, and posts the letters to fool her family never thinking there might actually be a Logan MacKenzie serving in the war. I loved that we got to hear/read Maddie's letters. That was one of my favorite parts. What would you write to an imaginary person if you thought no one would ever read or see it? Maddie poured herself into those letters, so anyone reading them would know her innermost desires, thoughts and fears. It really gave our hero an unfair advantage!
Captain Logan Mackenzie was also a highlander after my heart... with his tortured past, huge size, good looks, and loyal personality, there wasn't much you could find fault with. Well, maybe that he was blackmailing our heroine into marriage - but he wasn't doing it for himself! Logan and his soldiers have returned to Scotland after the war only to find their families and lands gone... lost to illness or burned out so the English landowners could graze sheep. He falls back on the silly chit who wrote him letters for years, knowing that she inherited a Highland castle and land where his men could start over. Logan doesn't care what he has to do to take care of his men, he feels he owes them after they trusted his leadership through the battles and conditions of combat. So he was honorable really... I mean it's not like Maddie really complained about his kisses!
This was not an instalove story - the romance unfolded at a steady pace (after they were already married of course). Maddie was stubborn and determined to push Logan away, despite the pangs she felt when she learned about his past, his loyalty, and his reading habit! Because of the way Logan grew up, he didn't think he had a heart to give Maddie, so it was nice seeing him come to terms with his feelings. I loved all of the secondary characters in the story. Maddie's aunt and her awful but well-meaning possets, and Grant with his inability to remember more than a day, both added an extra endearing aspect to the story. I wish we would have gotten to see a little more of the epilogue because I hated letting all these characters go.
4 stars / 3 flames.