Sweeping gestures of romance are timeless, as is Romancelandia’s fascination with Highlanders. This month, I’ve got two stellar romances. Both have Scots galore, Highlanders who fall hard for their loves, and both have grand, sweeping gestures.
Alyson McLayne takes us back to her popular Sons of Gregor MacLeod series about five boys fostered together to become brothers, who are destined to become Highland lairds. The fourth installment, Highland Captive, begins with Laird Gavin MacKinnon, callous and bitter in the aftermath of his son’s disappearance two years ago from an annual festival. He’s never given up hope of finding Ewan and is shocked to discover that the beautiful woman he meets at the market, Dierdre MacIntyre, is the woman who’s had his son for the last two and a half years. When he and his brothers go to collect Ewan, they decide to nab Dierdre at the same time and sort out the particulars later. But for Gavin, getting Ewan back is only the beginning. He’ll have to sort out his feelings for Dierdre during this complex, twisty story.
McLayne delivers a highly emotional, deeply satisfying tale of deceit and revenge, longing and loneliness, and ultimately of forgiveness and love. It’s a very fresh perspective in the world of Scottish Highland historicals.
Laura Trentham takes us forward in time to present-day Highland, Georgia, with her charming and sweet romance, A Highlander Walks Into a Bar. First in a new series, this book made me grin the whole time I read it. It’s comedic gold.
Things kick off with a harried Isabel Buchanan, who’s stretched to her limit navigating the Atlanta traffic to collect her mother, Rose, from the airport. (If you’ve ever driven in Atlanta, you will feel her pain.) Rose has been in Scotland doing research while Izzy’s been focused on planning the town’s annual Highland festival. And Rose’s trip was a resounding success, as evidenced by the six-foot-tall souvenir she brought home, Gareth Connors.
Alasdair Blackmoor is a risk manager and former risk-taker who’s come to the deep South to collect his Uncle Gareth and save him from the American tart he’s taken up with. As it turns out, Rose isn’t much of a tart, but her daughter Izzy is definitely captivating to Alasdair.
There’s a bit of a fish out of water tale here, mixed with an opposites-attract angle that caught and held my attention to the very end. Trentham’s casual, inviting writing is wonderful, showcasing her clever wit in every turn of phrase. The attraction between Izzy and Alasdair has great, natural chemistry, and while Rose and Gareth are secondary characters, I really enjoyed their romance as well. It was nice to see 50-somethings giggle and fret on their journey to love. This isn’t a fast-paced race to the finish line. Slow down and savor it.