My great thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for a fair review.
Book Title: SCOT OF MY DREAMS
Author: Janice Maynard
Series: Kilted Heroes
Publisher: Kensington Books, Lyrical Shine
Category: Contemporary Romance, Scottish, “Outlander Fantasy”
Main Characters: Willow/Bryce
Author’s Website: http://www.janicemaynard.com/
Source: Review copy provided by NetGalley, ebook
Rating: A Solid 4 Batty Moons!
In USA Today bestselling author Janice Maynard’s sweet and sexy new series, three childhood friends with a shared passion for the Outlander novels and TV show decide to travel to Scotland looking for adventure—and their very own Highland heroes…
Willow Ryman is as crazy about Scotland as her friends, but she’s on a tighter budget. So during their visit, she opts to stay at a shabby local hostel instead of a cozy B&B. When the owners abruptly decide to shut down for renovations, Willow is left out in the cold—until while exploring the countryside, Willow meets a handsome, friendly, kilt-clad fisherman. The Scotsman is everything she’s dreamed about. But he’s a blueblood, and she’s blue collar…
Bryce McBrae’s lineage as Laird McBrae has always been more of a burden than a blessing. Rarely does it spark such stimulating conversation as he enjoys with the pretty, refreshing American. Wanting more and unwilling to let Willow slip away, he invites her to stay at his castle. But as the two fall hard and fast for each other, they’ll have to decide whether this is just a vacation fling—or a sexy Cinderella story come true…
I have been a fan — okay, a wild-eyed worshiper — of Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER series since I got the first book club edition back in the early 90’s. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser is my Hero of Heroes, and Jamie/Claire one of my all-time OTP’s (One True Pairing — my #1 is still Buffy/Angel 4EVA. 😉 ) I re-read the entire series from beginning to end, including Lord Lord John books and novellas, every time there’s a new book coming out.
So when the series was announced and then premiered on Starz, I almost peed myself. Seriously. And I love that damn show. I love Sam Heughan, I love Caitriona Balfe, I love… well, the whole freaking cast and crew. Part of the fun (and sometimes bain) of the TV show is the explosion of the fandom.
From that explosion has grown a whole new sub-genre of romance, which I call “Outlander Fantasy.” Not just Scottish historical romance, but everyday women traveling to Scotland in search of their own JAMMF. This is the first one I’ve read, but there are two more in this series, and at least one other major book with a similar theme.
I am thrilled. Because whether I’m a fan of contemporaries generally or not, I AM a uber-fan of OUTLANDER, and let’s face it, I’ve entertained these fantasies myself. So when I read stories like SCOT OF MY DREAMS, I get all happy and SQUEE inside. I get to live vicariously through these characters and their fairy tales.
This was a really sweet story with a good, rich thread of serious hotness. It gives enough of a taste of Scotland (especially of places I dream of visiting myself someday) that I felt like I was there, without being drowned in tour guide information. The heroine is sweet without being too-dumb-to-live, and the hero, of course, is out of this world. Not JAMMF, but who is?
Let’s face it. In any other contemporary romance, I might be turned off by the implausibility of events in this story. This even just happens to take place at the right time. This perfect guy just happens to stroll by, and just happens to fall for the heroine immediately. He just happens to… well, I can’t tell you everything, but there are a lot of coincidences and perfect timings that might usually make me roll my eyes and wish I had never picked up the book.
NOT THIS KIND OF BOOK. The “Outlander Fantasy” subgenre, and let’s face it, a big part of other romance genres are all ABOUT wish fulfillment for readers. Why else would we read them? For example, I loves me some vampire heroes. LOVE. But I’m not hot about the idea of REAL vampires, you know? When I think “real” vampires, I think more Salem’s Lot than Twilight (which I try not to think about at all, thank you very much.) Plus, my favorite genres are paranormal romance and urban fantasy — we’re not looking at a whole lot of realism there, now, are we? So I’m more than willing to set aside my incredulity in exchange for a good yarn.
Point being, the sweet spun fantasy of this book scratched an itch I hardly ever recognize in myself — my unhealthy obsession with a fictional hero. Claire is lucky I like her and JAMMF loves her, or there’d be some CAT FIGHTIN’ UP IN HERE!
Not really…really. Ehem.
In the end, I turned off the Kindle with a satisfied sigh, feeling a little giggly and a little fiction-jealous. Ms. Maynard has got a simple, clean style that still possesses lyricism and richness. And now I want to read the other two books!
FOUR solid batty moons. If you love Scotland-set contemporaries and/ or Outlander (and have those daydreams. Come on, you know you do) you’ll really enjoy SCOT OF MY DREAMS. Just suspend your disbelief and go with it. It’s worth it.