Reason I have it: Dad checked it out of the library, because it's a Minneapolis author who apparently writes "Scottish Island" books, and he loves anything Scottish in literature. I saw it lying on the table when I wandered downstairs and picked it up to read the back cover, as I do with most books.
The back cover:
Dorcas Carrothers is a shy, sweet rug designer from Minneapolis's placid Linden Hills. Angus Alexandre MacLachlan MacQuirter is a gorgeous, goofy writer from Quebec, half French, half Scottish. Dressed in a kilt for a publicity photo, Angus rescues Dorcas when her car slides into un ravin horrible on the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands.
Woozy from her accident, romance novel reader Dorcas thinks she's gone through a time-space warp back into medieval Scotland, for Angus is a fantasy, nay, a dream come true: A genuine cinnamon-haired Scottish barbarian in living color and fully kilted.
"Are you going to ravish me?" Dorcas gasped, totally befuddled.
He blinked. Then his mouth quirked into a grin. "A charming idea..."
Ayoille! Laissez le bon temps rouler!
My response: Wow, that sounds absolutely ridiculous.
Talk radio: Blah, drone, whine
Me: OMG MUST DROWN OUT.
So I flip open the front cover and haphazardly scan a few pages. That's when I am unfortunately drawn in by the tantalizing sight of random bits and pieces of untranslated French scattered throughout the dialogue - my literary weakness! Nooooo! I skimmed for ten pages, but then on page 12 it was "What! Random TARDIS reference!" (she's rescued during a storm; roads are dangerous so he brings her back to his nearby cottage, which seems "bigger inside than out. Wow, she'd landed in another favorite fantasy - Doctor Who's TARDIS.")
And that's how I knew I was doomed to go back to page 1 and start reading it properly. Oh, God.
Pertinent Information: The back-cover excerpt happens in the first few pages, and like two sentences after that she realizes she hasn't been transported anywhere and he's just a guy rescuing her, and that line was a joke. I figured you should know that ASAP, just in case.
So, my first problem was my brain's need to cast at least one of the characters. Normally I don't do that, and am content with blurred and featureless circles in place of faces when I read, but I figured if I was going to read what threatened to be a romance novel - Dad wasn't sure! He thought it might be a mystery, which is what he usually reads! - I should have fun with it.
Problem: I can't think of that many Scotsmen. I tried briefly to force through an image of David Tennant - because I mean, we've all seen those pictures where he's in a full beard and complete with kilt (!), right? If not, fiery_twilight can hook you up - but even I knew the build was all wrong (also: not ginger). And then, damn it, my brain remembered that I do know a redheaded Scot...Kevin McKidd. Hell. Now I'm watching an accented Dr. Owen Hunt (Grey's Anatomy) in this story, and what's more, he rapidly turns out to be so perfect for the role that there's just no way of erasing the mental image. This is not my idea of a happy place! Oh well.
Anyway, with that sorted, over the course of the first 60 pages, although I swear I tried to read it with a straight face and an open mind, I kept throwing the book aside to laugh hysterically and report the latest moments of hilarity and disbelief. Not the least of which were the 3 or 4 references to his sexy chest hair as "fur," or better yet "pelt," including an incredibly disturbing moment where Dorcas wants to lick the drops of sweat off of it. That is just gross no matter how you frame it.
Pertinent Information: OK, so you should know that the heroine has been staying in his cottage (innocently) for a couple of days because she has nowhere else to go, and that Angus has a cat named Emma.
Page 44 - All of a sudden, there's a random paragraph from the cat's perspective!
Emma settled herself cozily across his knees. She was beginning to like this new human, who was encouraging Angus to arrange himself in positions that a cat enjoyed. And this afternoon she'd demonstrated remarkable skill with a can opener. [etc.]
Which, what! Why? Why is the cat suddenly a character with thoughts?
Page 58 - Just case there's not enough romance in this novel - there hasn't been anything explicit yet - Angus is presently writing his own romance novel, just for the heck of it. And we get read an excerpt from his manuscript! Oh boy!
Page 60ish - also, re: my casting choice? I have to admit, at this point, that it is sort of nice to give in to the mental picture of Owen being romantically inclined and protective without having that picture constantly tempered with "PIG KILLER*!" (That's right, I don't stop harping on that for anything) (*Non-Grey's watchers, please see here for an explanation)
Page 75 - *insert synonym beginning with "C" for male genitalia* Huh. Did not know you could put that word in non-pornographic print.
On a semi related note, the guy is growing on me. He keeps marveling at these newfound violent desires of his to punch men in the face when they say things to upset his relatively innocent and easily humiliated lady (or, in the case of her abusive ex-boyfriend, hunt them down and castrate them). I approve.
Page I-lost-track: I've skipped several pages here and there for my delicate sensibilities, but I'd just like to mention that apparently they had sex for the first time under the dining table while a vicious tornado-like windstorm blew out a couple windows and otherwise beat up the house. Awesome.
Page 106 - Oh joy, the humans are busy in the bedroom, so now we get to hear from the cat again.
Emma, in the living room, lifted her head to listen, then folded her paws contentedly under her chest and sank back into a doze in the sunshine, dreaming of the large, handsome tomcat who'd made her scream like that, a couple of times. She drifted off, the scream echoing in her mind.
I ask you, how many authors would be bold enough to write about cat fantasies in their romance novels? APPARENTLY, JUST ONE. Lol unnecessarily overly-anthropomorphic animal characters!
Page 107 - In some stories, the part where a perfect stranger asks to marry you after FIVE DAYS might be the first time you dropped the book to shake with laughter. Here it's like par for the course.
Page 122 - *collapses* I'm only at the halfway point - end of part 1; right now she's heading back to Minneapolis so she can think it over apart from him for a while to see if she's really ready to spend a lifetime with him, or something, and I kind of don't think I have the strength to finish.
Besides, part 1 was pretty much a story in and of itself; I'm not really sure I want to find out what contrivances pop up in part 2 before the inevitable happy ending. Because I somehow doubt the author's going to spend a hundred pages just telling us about her mundane job, walking her little dog Toto (oh yes), and chatting with her friends while he holes up in his cottage and finishes his romance novel.
Oh, who am I kidding. I clearly have to finish so I can report back to you with the rest of the hilarity. And because I've only finished two books since finishing school, and I'm sort of desperate for numbers here. Anything will do.
Whew! I have not laughed that hard in a long time. Also, I love that I read this on Valentine's Day. It's like this book and I were destined to meet. At the opportune moment.