ARC Review: Once Upon a Tartan by Grace Burrowes

ARC Review: Once Upon a Tartan by Grace BurrowesOnce Upon a Tartan by Grace Burrowes

Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 6, 2013
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars  

I love historical romances set in the Highlands and I was pleased with the one other book I’ve read by Grace Burrowes so I leaped at the chance to read this one even though its not the first book in the series. This book is the second one MacGregor Trilogy and I had no trouble getting into it though there are obviously mild spoilers for the first book. In the end, it met my expectations nicely even though it was just the setting and backdrop that was Scottish and not the main characters.

Tiberius Flynn arrives in Aberdeenshire under the guise of young Fiona’s long lost paternal uncle who wants to get to know his niece. He is welcomed by Fiona who takes a liking to him, but looked on with suspicion by the girl’s honorary Aunt Hester. Hester doesn’t believe for a minute that Fiona’s paternal relations have suddenly out of the blue after all these years decided to take an interest in her. The trouble is that Hester feels strong attraction for the tall, handsome and stiff Englishman and she has to admit that he seems to honestly want to know his niece. Hester has made a huge mistake about a man in the past so while she acts under the guidance of Fiona’s great-aunt to pursue her attraction with Tye, she also can’t trust that very attraction.

Tye intended to spend only a few days gathering up his brother’s child and taking her to the family seat at the request of his father. Circumstances change when he finds his heart and conscience engaged and he can’t make himself treat Fiona like a pawn or ignore the evidence of his eyes that he’ll be ripping her out of a loving family home. That being said, he knows in the end that he’ll do the distasteful duty that his father the Marquis orders him to do even after forming an attachment to Hester that may likely end badly when she learns what he plans to do and will consider it a betrayal.

The plot of this book drew my interest in from the first and held it to the last. I knew from the get go what Tye planned to do and I could see the relationship growing between Tye and Hester and could predict how that would turn out, but that didn’t make it boring for me because all through much of the story I still didn’t know what motivated Tye or what his conniving father was up to. I both liked and disliked that though the story mostly alternated between Tye and Hester’s points of view, it also offered the secondary characters including the child, Fiona’s perspectives too. I liked it because it made the other characters richer and deeper, but I disliked it because it affected the story’s pace.

Speaking of pace, I only have one issue with the story and pace is it. I felt that once the opening scenes were out of the way and the plot thread established that things ground to a crawl before picking up again in the last third of the book. The middle third’s focus was on the slow moving seduction and romance between Tye and Hester. Several passionate interludes that grew more and more intimate alternated with scenes of daily life around the house. While I understood what the author was doing by writing in these scenes- showing how Tye gained Hester’s trust and renewed her confidence- it still grew tedious for me to read several love scenes in a row (and I know that some of you are shaking your head at me because this won’t be a problem for you- haha).

Now back to what I enjoyed about the story…
Well besides the plot and backdrop that would also include the characters both main and secondary. Tye and Hester were great multi-faceted characters who were easy to like and appreciate even knowing that Tye was keeping secrets and Hester was growing away from her naïveté and hurt. They brought out each other’s strengths and were both very passionate people for each other under the veneer of calm, cool gentility that they presented on the outside. If you enjoyed the main characters from the first book, they play a huge role in this second story. I loved Ian and in particular his views on his baby son and being stuck with the earldom. The second chance romance between Tye’s parents and their side story was interesting, but I confess that I just wanted to get on with it to more Tye and Hester.

So, in the end, it was a wonderful scorchy Victorian Highlander Romance that I can recommend to lovers of that sort of thing. I will definitely be going back and catching up on the first story that I missed and anticipating the third book’s release.

My thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book for review purposes.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • I loved this book as well and agree that you can read it as a stand alone, but you might as well start with The Bridegroom wore Plaid as you’ll want to after reading this.

    • Sophia Rose

      I have the first book now Heather so I can get caught up. Glad you stopped by to share your thoughts.

  • Monica Vargo

    The MacGregor trilogy is now going on my TBR list. Sounds like fabulous reads!

    • Sophia Rose

      That’s great, Monica! I hope you like it.