Two for two! I have been completely engrossed by my last two selections: Book 22 Tide, Feather, Snow and now Eloisa Jame’s Once Upon a TowerThat’s not a huge surprise – I’ve been reading James’ work for some time, but I found myself engrossed in Once Upon a Tower. Here, our hero is Gowan Stoughton, Duke of Kinross, a strapping Scottish man who apparently puts the thin lipped Englishman to shame. He instantly falls in love with Lady Edith “Edie” Gilchrist and her calm, even manner – not knowing that the reason she acted that is because she was very ill and could barely keep her head up.

Whenever I read a romance, I wonder one of two things: Either “how will they get past the huge hurdle of being so completely different and at odds?” or “Things are going well…what will the conflict be?” Even after Gowan gets wind of Edie’s true character – and that she’s an accomplished cello player – they STILL get along and speak all sorts of things of love.

That is, until their wedding night. This might be the most interesting conflict I’d ever read in all my years of reading romance. Gentle hearted, close your ears: his penis is too big.

Yes, really.

At first, I thought that was a ridiculous turn, but Edie doesn’t want to make a big deal about it, and their lack of communication about this spills into other parts of their lives and sets them up for what would be certain failure. But of course we know they won’t because this is, after all, a romance. I usually read the newspaper at lunch, but I kept reading Once Upon a Tower there – and on the train, and sometimes over dinner. It was just a good, fun read, even if, at first, I thought the big conflict was a silly one.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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