Title: A Highlander Christmas
Author: Janet Chapman
Page Count: 334 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: fantasy/paranormal romance
Copy for review was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
50 words or less: An ex-rocket scientist gets put on a kooky, elaborate fixup date with the dude she thinks she hates more than any other. Supposedly, hilarity ensues.
I am going to say this straight out of the gate, so there are no surprises later: this is not a positive review, and I did not enjoy this book.
In retrospect, there were a lot of warning signs that I probably wouldn't enjoy this book. The story employs one of my least favorite plot devices ever (nosy meddling mother sends supposed man of daughter's dreams to find her and bring her back to the bosom of her loved ones). The heroine shares her name with a Toyota. There's a weiner dog on the cover. Really, I'm not sure what I thought about this book would align with my interests, but there you have it.
Camry MacKeage is a basket case when we first meet her. She's in the middle of an existential crisis perpetuated by email correspondance with a French scientist who, somehow, makes her doubt everything she's been working on for pretty much her entire life. She figures the best way to deal with all of this whatnot is to quit (get fired) from her job, move back to Maine, and set up shop babysitting dogs and bartending on the weekends. While she's at it, she's not going to contact her family or anything, which is probably not what most people would do, but one fact the characters in the story had trouble understanding is that Camry is an adult and does not have to check in with Mommy and Daddy every time something goes wrong.
Alas, because she did not check in with Mommy and Daddy, Mommy and Daddy decided to send Luke Pascal Renoir, the dude on the other end of the angsty emails, to check on her, and (unbeknownst to him) to win her heart in the process. Because everyone knows, when you're a lady and things get tough, obviously you NEED a MAN to come in and sort things out for you. Get my swooning couch ready, will you?
Turns out Luke isn't just aggressive professionally, he's pretty much a douche in person; for whatever reason, he and Toyota can't keep their hands off each other and a whole bunch of really awkward scenes result from that. Throw in Fiona, Camry's niece who's actually from the future sort of, but not really, and a grizzly old prospector/relative, and somehow these two end up married and trudging through the woods, looking for a satellite that fell out of the sky and is the source of all the original consternation between them.
I didn't buy into the relationships between the characters in this book in the slightest. For someone as smart as Camry is, she doesn't know a damn thing about people. Luke wins my vote hands-down for the Smug Bastard Award of 2009. I think these people would drive each other crazy; they'd have to have sex nonstop or else they'd kill each other. I think it was about the time that Luke decided that the reason Camry was still a virgin was because she didn't want the possibility of children distracting her from her work and Camry corrected him and said no, I just want to marry who I want because the magic made my sisters marry dudes they didn't choose because they got pregnant that I wanted to give this book a long journey into the night.
Are there folks out there who would enjoy this book? Sure. Maybe it was the writing style, maybe it was the story, maybe reading some of the other books in the series would help, but as it stands right now I don't think I want to wander this little garden path any further.
Overall Grade: D
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