Once Upon a Tartan by Grace Burrowes

Once Upon a Tartan by Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (381 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Camellia

Honor or happiness-he can’t have both.

Tiberius Flynn travels to Scot land with orders to snatch his young niece away from her Highland relations. He thinks it’s going to be an easy task, until he meets the feisty little girl and her fiercely protective step-aunt. A smart, headstrong beauty, Hester Daniels has no use for an English lord with high-handed ways, no matter how handsome or beguiling he may be…

Tye sets out to seduce Hester and win over Fiona, only to discover that he’s losing his heart to a woman who’s as untamable as Scotland itself…

Mm, mm, good, maybe even better than the first book in the MacGregor series!

Once Upon a Tartan is skillfully written with eloquent, revealing words, and subtle humor to tantalize the senses and send the reader on an emotional rollercoaster ride for an awesome vicarious experience.

Hester Daniels, her young, irrepressible niece Fiona, and the very old, worldly-wise Aunt Ariadne have cobbled together a household comfortable for them all while Fiona’s mother and stepfather are on an extended trip. When the Earl of Spathfoy, Tiberius “Tye” Flynn appears, lives are forever changed. He is Fiona’s uncle on the paternal side of her family that has ignored her existence until now. The conflicts, the subtle maneuvering, and the many types of love that come to the fore make Once Upon a Tartan a keeper. It sparkles, shimmers, and shines with characters that are multi-faceted who all seem comfortable in their own skin and not afraid to speak up for themselves. I admire and cheer on strong characters.

I fell in love with the vivacious little Fiona. She is a breath of fresh air. She climbs tress, reads to trees, and sings to them and declares them very nice. She chatters like a magpie, is a trove of information, and it never enters her mind to be daunted by her Uncle Tye. She even grins and winks at him when he’s grumpy. The fact that he is an earl means nothing in her young life. How she relates to all the adults in her life is an amazing story in itself.
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Hester hates that good manners force her to offer the Earl of Spathfoy hospitality, while Aunt Ariadne is quite happy to have him around. Hester cannot get past the fact that Tye’s deceased brother, a spoiled, selfish womanizer, had not dealt honorably with her sister. Moreover, his family had not acknowledged his “handfasted” wife or his daughter.

Hester does not hold men in the highest regard since Jasper Merriman forced his sexual attention upon her while they were engaged. She jilted him and alienated London Society and her own mother. Now, in virtual exile with most of her options gone, she considers herself a spinster. She is certain she is not marriage material for an Earl. Her self-esteem has been battered. However, with Aunt Ariadne’s encouragement and Tye’s (at first) aggravating attention, a most delightful and heart-warming story of love and friendship takes root, sprouts and grows strong.

The arrogant, but honorable Tye is plagued with guilt but feels honor bound to carry out his father’s wishes. His bluster with an undercurrent of humor often revealed in an avalanche of big words—in some cases naughty words—makes the interaction between him and Hester, Fiona, and even Ian brings chuckles and giggles at times. It keeps one’s attention focused on what is going to happen next.

Ian MacGregor, Fiona’s uncle on the maternal side of her family, and his wife Augusta were primary characters in The Bridegroom Wore Plaid , the first book in the MacGregor series. They have a strong influence in this story also. Their side story, so full of love and humor about their “Terror”, the baby that rules their life captivates and blends in to the main story beautifully. Ian’s love for Fiona and the length he’ll go to in order to protect her shows a wonderful, deep, familial love that touches the heart.

The love scenes with Hester and Tye let the reader know that there is so much more to their love than just the physical attraction. They bolster each other’s sense of self-worth and reach out to each other in sincere caring. Their awesome sexual encounters show a joy for living that takes the breath away.

Grace Burrowes weaves her magic with words to show the many facets of the characters that emerge as she immerses the reader in the environment, the inner struggles of the characters, the joy of life they have, and the machinations of Tye’s manipulative father. He is an antagonist one could hate yet feel sorry for at the same time.

The strong women, the strong yet sensitive men, and a child as untamable as her fiercely protective and loving aunt make One Upon a Tartan a memorable love story—excellent and exquisite.


  1. Martha Eddy says

    OK – for the most part I adored the review. HOWEVER, Fiona’s uncle is Ian MacGregor (no James Bond author need apply – thank you Mr. Ian Fleming). I am looking forward to this book and it has been pre-ordered for weeks.

    • The Long and Short Of It says

      Thank you for pointing that out! Since our editor is not the reader, those types of errors can slip through the cracks. It’s fixed 🙂


  1. […] Upon a Tartan received a Best Book review from Long and Short Reviews, a first for me. This book comes out in July, and has […]

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