Once Upon a Tower

Once Upon a Tower

4.1 108
by Eloisa James
     
 

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Once upon a time…

A duke fell in love

Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, values order and self-control above all else. So when he meets a lady as serene as she is beautiful, he promptly asks for her hand in marriage.

With a lady

Edie—whose passionate temperament is the opposite of

…  See more details below

Overview

Once upon a time…

A duke fell in love

Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross, values order and self-control above all else. So when he meets a lady as serene as she is beautiful, he promptly asks for her hand in marriage.

With a lady

Edie—whose passionate temperament is the opposite of serene—had such a high fever at her own debut ball that she didn’t notice anyone, not even the notoriously elusive Duke of Kinross. When her father accepts his offer… she panics.

And when their marriage night isn’t all it could be, she pretends.

In a tower.

But Edie’s inability to hide her feelings makes pretending impossible, and when their marriage implodes, she retreats to a tower—locking Gowan out.

Now Gowan faces his greatest challenge.  Neither commands nor reason work with his spirited young bride. How can he convince her to give him the keys to the tower…

When she already has the keys to his heart?

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Captivated by the charming, ever-so-agreeable Lady Edith Gilchrist from the first time he sees her, the normally levelheaded Duke of Kinross proposes—and is accepted—the next day. But Edie was ill and not at all herself, so she writes him a very direct letter laying out her practical, unromantic marital expectations. Her missive in turn elicits an equally direct but totally opposite response from the surprised duke, setting the stage for an unforgettable romance that satisfies on all counts. Superb secondary characters (a wonderfully outrageous stepmother, in particular) and timeless, well-handled relationship issues add to the fun. VERDICT Exquisitely written, insightful, hilarious, and sometimes bawdy, this adroit, offbeat, music-laced, Shakespeare-infused take on the classic Rapunzel story will put cello-playing into a whole new light and a tower on every woman's wish list. James (The Ugly Duchess) lives in the New York City area.
BookPage
“Eloisa James delights again with a story that’s both sophisticated and sweet, featuring layered characters who walk right off the page and into the reader’s heart.”
RT Book Reviews (top pick) 4 1/2 Stars
“James’ twist on Rapunzel 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.”
Booklist (starred review)
“a symphony of delights for romance readers, a lyrically written love story graced with richly nuanced characters and generously seasoned with the author’s incandescent wit.”
Teresa Medeiros
“Eloisa James’s writing is absolutely exquisite. She is one of the brightest lights in our genre...her writing is truly scrumptious.”
Julia Quinn
“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. Her style is exquisite, her prose pure magic. Nothing gets me to a bookstore faster than a new novel by Eloisa James.”
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleyps
“Eloisa James is extraordinary. With her sensuous and elegant style, inventive plotting and warm, human characters, she makes every book a treasure. A novel by Eloisa is a delicious treat that shouldn’t be missed. A wonderfully original voice in romance fiction!”
Kirkus Reviews
An erotic novel set in England and Scotland in the early 1800s. Gowan, a Scottish duke, falls in love with Edie, the daughter of an English gentleman, who reciprocates his feelings. They are both virgins: Gowan was disgusted by his own father's philandering and wants to save himself for the love of his life, and Edie is a proper English lady. Both were raised by their fathers after their respective mothers died. As it happens, sexual incompatibility threatens their marriage, but ultimately, their shared values as well as their deep love for one another will save it. Edie is a talented cellist who might have been a world-class performer had she been born a man. She jealously guards her time for practice. It was her father who taught her to play, and music was how they connected. Gowan, meanwhile, runs the family estate and oversees the workers, unlike his father, who was an irresponsible drunk. Gowan also has a half sister he wants to raise with Edie. Edie loves her stepmother, whose own marriage to Edie's father is on the brink. The two women help each other with marital advice that eventually will pay off. The dialogue between characters is witty, but there are too many explicit, repetitious bedroom scenes. According to the author, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the story of Rapunzel inspired this book, and there are references to and quotes from both. A work of romantic historical fiction with an emphasis on sex.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062223883
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/28/2013
Series:
Fairy Tales , #5
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
18,779
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.

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Once Upon a Tower 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 104 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off....I love this author, but this plot just wasn't her best. I felt she was parodying Romeo and Juliet at first...the twist being what actually happens after that love at first sight moment ends and real life begins...and i liked it based on that. I just had a hard time with the ending. I was thinking now she's in a tower...not sure why except maybe that fits the rapunzel fairy tale theme??? It just seemed forced at the end to fit that theme. Also i didn't buy their responses to each others issues. I felt like it was one capricious move after the other and it came off immaturely. I do generally enjoy that "young love messes up due to immaturity" plot device EJ uses at times (Ugly Duckling is one of my favs). But unlike that wonderful novel the immature behavior comes at the end of the tale rather than the beginning. I didn't feel like it was realistic (or endearing) for the story to be resolved this way. I feel like I'm being really picky but that's what happens EJ when you write awesome books...your fans start to expect the best of the best! Sorry I still love your work.
janeeyre01 More than 1 year ago
Once Upon a Tower there was Sir Gowan and Lady Edi. Sir Gowan was a strapping Scottish Laird and Lady Edi was a Musical prodigy. They met by chance at a ball. They married before they truly knew each other. Now The Scottish Laird must get his lady love to come out of Tower so he can prove that there really are HAE's. This is the story of a couples way to happily ever after. I loved the hero and heroine as well as the secondary characters.
Sherkeekie More than 1 year ago
I usually love everything that comes from EJ's pen.  Once Upon a Tower just wasn't up to her usual standards. I was very disappointed.
monkeysong More than 1 year ago
Not up to her usual standards. Eloisa James is always on my 'buy' list but this book ended up being disappointing to me. It felt like maybe it was out too soon and needed to stew in her head a bit longer and have another revision before it hit the shelves. At the beginning, I immediately liked Gowan and Edie, but then they became very wishy washy in their character to me and I lost my connection. I couldn't get a feel of who they were. By the end I didn't care much for Edie and thought Gowan deserved better-- especially when he is getting beat up by everyone! Even the tower scene was anti-climactic for me. And the secondary characters had a lot of potential too but then they just petered out and got ridiculously dramatic. This book won't stop me from buying Eloisa James the next time, but if this is your first reading experience with her, I would suggest starting at When Beauty Tamed the Beast or Much Ado About You first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved, absolutely LOVED, "Once Upon A Tower", Eloisa! I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced. I also loved how you brought to light the realistic issues of an intimate nature between a married couple. It's not all fun and games and endless hours of mutual pleasure. Then your resolution... {{SIGH}} I believe all men should read romance novels to get more acquainted with how to romance their girlfriends, partners, and wives... not to mention perhaps bedroom tips(!).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do it Buy it Read it Love it Once again Eloisa James writes a story that spins such a sweet tale - music, Shakespeare, love, heartbreak, Scotland!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didnt care for this one. Both of the main characters were unlikable, the storyline was pretty thin. The fairy tale series is running out ofgas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great story and the characters were amazing to read about. I lovd the entire book start to finish !
K_Holt More than 1 year ago
Eloisa James is one of my favorites....and while reviews were divided and I didn't know what to expect, I found this book to be a delightful win! Moved me to tears, to laughter. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
RubyNC More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyable. I love this authors style and really enjoy her characters. We worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms James has outdone herself. I like how she turned this fairy tale into a true lesson in love. She didn't make it all happiness and perfection. It showed love is imperfect and you have to make comprimises. You could feel the music of the cello as it wrapped around the two lovers, the power of words and how it destroys. But in the end, how far some one will go to get what they need, what they can't live without.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I forgive you ej for "The Ugly Duchess". This one is much more heartfelt and better constructed, the plot makes a lot more sense with events that unfold organically and elegantly. The characters mature (in an age appropriate way) such that if we were to encounter them 7 years later (ahem), they would probably still be recognizable as themselves, just older and wiser. Also, they're likeable. Ms. James has captured perfectly the obsession world class musicians, dancers, artists, writers and anyone driven to express themselves creatively has with their art. Yes it can drive the people around you bonkers, but if you find someone who "gets it" or at least tries very hard, you can't help but love them. Gowan does eventually understand sooner rather than later and in typical "golden boy" fashion "gets it " good. Edie is an interesting mix of snarky and innocent, and isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer but is a musical genius who is racked with self-doubt. The best character of all is Layla who seems to have stepped right out of that Tennessee Williams screwball comedy "The Glass Cat on a Hot Streetcar". We all need a Layla! I'm puzzled by the "professional" review that calls this erotic. It's not. There is sex in it but it's mostly cringe worthy and clunky, intentionally. Until the characters figure it out, then it's sweetly sexy and endearing. Anne Rice's "Beauty" series is erotic, this is...........not. Wow this is a long review, sheesh. So, except for the anachronistic dialogue which normally irritates me but doesn't so much this time, I think she hit it out of the ballpark!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Acw13 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. It kept you hooked wondering what was going to happen with the characters in the next chapter. If you are a hopeless romantic, you will love this book. Acw13
AustenStudent More than 1 year ago
I adore Eloisa James’ writing style and witty way with words. It’s extremely readable, light but not fluffy, cute but not cloying. It’s a delight to read every single word. I smile whenever I read her stories and that’s just about the best endorsement I can give a book. One of the best parts of Once Upon a Tower, the fifth story in her magical Fairy Tales series, is the loving and close relationship between Edie and her young stepmother, Layla. Only ten years apart in age, Edie and Layla form a close friendship like sisters that is lovely to read. Throughout the book, the two women support each other through their marital trials and travails, providing some very funny moments. “‘Well, that’s marriage for you,’ Layla said. ‘Giddy one moment, indifferent the next.’” (p26) ”’Unfortunately, men seem to think that women are like new wine, good only before being uncorked.’” (p54) Gowan, the Duke of Kinross, is very young, only twenty-two, yet he is very serious about all his ducal responsibilities. He doesn’t believe in wasting time and multi-tasks his entire life, much to Edie’s dismay. He needs to learn how to relax and enjoy life’s privileges that come with his wealth and rank. This is something that Edie teaches him as they make their way in their new marriage. They are both still very much in that  “in love” stage as they meet and marry in only a month, and must learn to live together peacefully while they each pursue their own passions and responsibilities. Edie, too, is very young, only nineteen, and is a passionate and devoted musician—she plays the cello—while Gowan has always held many important responsibilities due to his title. He is a great reader, however, and this makes for some beautiful letters early in their courtship. I think it’s wonderful that James portrays a couple’s sexual journey and that it is far from perfect. This makes it more authentic and human than most historical romances I’ve read. Edie and Gowan are both virgins when they come to the marriage and they must learn to communicate their needs and wishes in and out of the bedroom. She’s afraid to tell him her displeasure while he believes he must persist until he satisfies her. There are plenty of humorous moments, as always, in this romance. Layla’s ill-used advice to Edie about the marital bed, Edie and Gowan’s provocative love letter exchange inspired by literary allusions, and the charming and funny girlfriend banter between Edie and Layla. There’s a bonus for Julia Quinn fans here, as well, with characters from Quinn’s Just Like Heaven making a lovely and surprising cameo. As always, the writing sparkles on the page, making me smile with every line. Magical, this is pure escapism. “…who could forget that hair? It looked as if old Roman coins had melted into canary wine, leaving strands of darker gold woven with sunlight.” (p61) This is the first series by James that I’ve read and I look forward to reading the rest of her oeuvre.
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Highly recommended..
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Continue tommorow guys im sorry... if the lags back then im going to bed))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ssmommie75TB More than 1 year ago
Although I found myself in many places in Once Upon A Tower struggling to get through some parts,  I still enjoyed the book.  Eloisa James is an excellent author.