By Heather A.
4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
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.
Happy pub day to When a Scot Ties the Knot!
I’ll freely admit that I haven’t read regency romances before. I believed the stigma that they were cheesy and a sort-of “less than” to other forms of literature. Yes, I was a book snob. But ya know, people change. (And also, I could probably write an entire 1500 word essay on why book shaming gets people nowhere. Another day, perhaps.)
I picked this up at work mostly because it was about a Scottish highlander. (I think you know how much we love Outlander around here.) And it turns out our protagonist is totally relatable. She’s a wallflower and has social anxiety to the point where she freezes in crowds. So to make her family back-off on the fact that she wasn’t interested in meeting people, she makes up a fake Scottish Captain in the Army who she pines over. She keeps to herself in her castle and has commissions for illustrations in various nature magazines and books. She’s content to only spend her time with her aunt and a few household maids.
Turns out that her pretend Scottish lover, who has been reading her pretend letters, is a real guy. A few years after her last letter (she pretends he died, she’s now in “mourning”), he goes to meet her at her castle in the highlands. He demands marriage so he can get the land for him and his comrades returned home. This is a guy with a bad childhood who has turned all emotion inside himself and has problems forming romantic relationships, but he sure has spent time with women. Specifically for our heroine, she’s teased relentlessly.
His emotional arc is very interesting, and in order to avoid spoilers, I’ll try not to get into it too much. Let’s just say, the power of the written word makes this tough guy “squishy.” Though he comes from a mental state of “no one really loves me” he’s able to find true love between her letters and the way she cares for him.
As I was writing this review, I realized that a lot of the anxiety and lies could have been solved if he just responded to one of her letters to let her know that she was writing to a real person. Because the mail system is apparently magical, I’m sure it would have arrived at her door.
Anyway, I was absolutely invested in this couple and really enjoyed reading this for fun. I highly recommend it! Do you have any other regency romances I should read? Leave a comment below.