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Once Upon a Tower: Number 5 in series (Happy Ever After) Paperback – 28 May 2013
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Eloisa James writes with a captivating blend of charm, style, and grace that never fails to leave the reader sighing and smiling and falling in love (Julia Quinn, New York Times bestselling author)
A splendidly sexy fairy-tale romance... a lyrically written love story... seasoned with the author's incandescent wit (Booklist)
Written with wit and an understanding of human emotions, Once Upon a Tower is riveting reading (Romance Reviews Today)
Sweeps readers away into a fairy tale full of deep emotion while exploring the themes of self-imposed imprisonment, family relations, love, marriage and what is at the heart of any relationship. James wraps big themes in a wonderfully romantic story, beautifully written, intelligent and unforgettable (RT Book Reviews)
Exquisitely written, insightful, hilarious and sometimes bawdy (Library Journal)
Eloisa James's writing is absolutely exquisite (Teresa Medeiros)
Treat yourself to a fairy tale that will keep you enchanted from 'once upon a time' til 'they lived happily ever after' (The Romance Dish on A Kiss At Midnight)
A breathtaking addition to James's series of reimagined fairy tales... [A] funny, offbeat, deliciously sensual story that takes the famed fairy tale to a new level with its vivid description and exquisite writing (Library Journal on When Beauty Tamed the Beast)
The fifth sensuous and exquisite historical romance in a sparkling series by the queen of Regency seduction, Eloisa James.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Once Upon a Tower was my favourite Eloisa James novel to this day. It was fun, sexy with both the heroine and hero being characters I could like.
Edith (yep, had a hard time accepting that such a beautiful fairy-like heroine had such an old name - but was glad to see I wasn't the only one as both the hero and heroine disliked her un-musical name) is a young and beautiful woman who knows her duty: she'll marry the man of her father's choosing and does not have fancy ideas about marriage and romance. It was interesting to see such a rational and level-headed heroine, who accepted her fate and wanted to make the most of it by laying down the rules of their life together once they got married. Edith wanted to maintain her independence and personal space, while her groom had more romantic notions: he wanted to enjoy his wife, he wanted them to share their hearts and bodies, to live happily. Once again the reversal of roles in that Gowan was the more romantic, passionate one while Edith the rational one made for an interesting and rather unusual set-up.
Edie was a very likeable heroine. Though she was innocent she wasn't naive, she had witnessed his father's marriage and knew she didn't want hers to be full of drama and heartache and so she planned to have a rational partnership with no strong feelings and emotions running high. Once again Eloisa James gave us an unusual pairing because Edie's step-mother was a still young and flirty woman in her 30s, and she was the colourful social butterfly to Edie's sedate and serious, rationality. (Edie's only passionate trait was her music, that was the love of her life.)
Gowan was a dream come true, he was a passionate, warm-hearted and honourable man. *sighs* He was a Scottish Duke (yum!), very manly and sexy (double yum!), who remained a virgin, because seeing his parents' marriage deteriorate with countless unfaithful adulterous liaisons he wanted to save the act of lovemaking something true and pure, something that had sense and substance and wanted to share it someone who mattered not just a barmaid. And so he wants to share it with his wife, the woman he came to yearn for and he can't wait to love her the way he wants to.
The problem is that it is painful for Edie and she doesn't enjoy it. What enjoy, she suffers through it and not wanting to cause problems in their newlywed status she fakes her pleasure and perpetuates a lie, which once is unveiled slays Gowan's self-esteem and self-respect.
Verdict: Once Upon a Tower is Eloisa James' retelling of Rapunzel, and although we have the tower and the prince climbing it up (twice) as well as the golden haired maiden, it is very much a story of its own, so bravo to Eloisa James for building her beautiful and witty historical romance around a fairy tale but not letting the fairy tale overpower her story. Both Edie and Gowan were wonderful characters and I loved their interactions, especially the wit and humour in their correspondence, and how their relationship progressed slowly, how they had to get to know each other before falling head first in. At times Edie's stepmother and her drama and tears frustrated me and I would have wished for a different ending/resolution as it wasn't to my taste, but Once Upon a Tower is a lovely fairy tale retelling that I'm sure I'll be re-reading soon.
I give Once Upon a Tower 4.5 stars!
Ending: 6/10 - I loved the story until the very end
You can read the full review here:
I love Eloisa James’ novels. They are witty, clever, and full of fantastic heroes and heroines just waiting to pull you into a slightly more romantic world. Whilst nothing will beat the ‘Desperate Duchesses’ series for me personally, James’ retelling of fairytales as regency romances has been inspired. I adored Cinderella (A Kiss at Midnight) and Beauty & the Beast (When Beauty Tamed the Beast) but there was something about this version of Rapunzel that just didn’t quite do it for me.
I read romance novels for escape when life becomes particularly problematic. I like to know that there is a safe formula that will ensure a happy ending (with a few bumps along the way) and a wonderful hero waiting to sweep the feisty and intelligent heroine off her feet before the last page.
So when I’m faced with a truly unlikeable hero it kinda puts a crimp in my plans.
The last few chapters saved this from being 2 stars, and fingers crossed that Eloise's next offering raises the bar again!
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