Shy and scientifically-minded Miss Madeline Gracechurch suffers from anxiety attacks and couldn’t bear the thought of having to be out in society during the Season. So she comes up with a fictional suitor, a strapping and handsome Scotsman that she met on the beach in Brighton and who’s unfortunately gone off to fight Napoleon. She keeps writing letters to the brave Captain Logan MacKenzie to keep up with the fiction that their feelings for one another are so strong that she couldn’t possibly interact with other men and jilt her absentee beau. As the years go by, the letters become a diary of sorts for Madeline, where she confesses her hopes, fears and dreams and shares tales of her family and her scientific explorations. Her godfather even bequeaths her a castle in the Scottish highlands so she and her future husband will have somewhere to live when he returns from the war.
In time, Madeline is unable to continue her fiction, and kills off her fictional fiancee, going into deep mourning instead. She moves with her great aunt to the Scottish castle, content to go about her quiet life, tending to the tenants, using her artistic skills to make a living illustrating scientific papers. So imagine her surprise when a tall, handsome soldier appears on her doorstep, claiming he is Captain Logan MacKenzie, back from the war, ready to finally marry his sweetheart. He’s read every single letter Madeline sent, and now her deceptions will allow him to secure a decent future for those of his men who don’t have any other homes to return to. Madeline can’t very well confess to all and sundry that she’s been living a lie since she was a teenager, even accepting the inheritance of a castle as a result. Can she really marry a total stranger, just to protect her reputation?
With a lot of Tessa Dare’s recent novels, you don’t really have to suspend your disbelief as throw it out the window, waving at it as it flies away. She writes such frothy, witty, engaging romances that I can’t bring myself to care if the premise or plot is preposterous. In Any Duchess Will Do we go along with the idea that a Dowager Duchess would be so desperate for grandchildren that she will happily let her son marry a tavern maid. In Romancing the Duke there is pretty much a fandom convention, complete with cosplayers, despite it being a Regency novel. In When a Scot Ties the Knot a retiring young lady believes that she’s sending letters to a fictional recipient that will end up in a dead letter office, but that are actually received by a young Scottish recruit. Logan ignores the mockery and jeers from his fellow soldiers and works his way up to become the captain the letters address him as, then travels to seek out the woman who wrote them.
Full review here