Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Last Highlander by Claire Cross

Book Description:
While celebrating the reclaiming of Edinburgh Castle, a Scottish warrior heads down a flight of stairs - and into another century...

Scotland, 1998. When a beautiful American traveler stumbles upon this handsome Highlander, she is intensely drawn to the mystery surrounding this man, a mystery that has the power to alter history - and her heart - forever...

I'm a sucker for Scottish time travel novels, obviously, since I'm such a fan of Outlander, and I enjoyed this time travel Scottish romance, though it was nothing more than a light piece of fluff. Not bad, but not great. Morgan Lafayette is an American illustrator of children's books who is still suffering the after-effects of her no-good womanizing ex-husband. Her confidence in men is at an ebb. While traveling in Scotland with her sister and brother-in-law she hopes to find inspiration for a new book of Scottish fairy tales while in the Highlands. To add to the mix, her sister, who means well, is always on the lookout for a new man for her sister as well - any man, it seems, will do.

Earlier, we meet Alasdair MacAuley, a Scottish Highlander who has been celebrating his victory and is now in his cups after taking Edinburgh Castle on hehalf of Robert the Bruce in the fourteenth century. He meets an old hag in the dark hallways of the castle, who dares him to follow her and recite a chant and turn three times on behalf of the legendary sorceress Morgaine le Fey. His friends egg him on to do it, and before he knows it, he literally winds up at the feet of our present day Morgan while she is touring the same Edinburgh Castle seven hundred years later. He is perplexed for one minute he's in the fourteenth century and the next, his bearings are off, everything looks different - yet the same. What has happened and what alternate world is this? He is convinced that the legendary Morgaine le Fey has put a spell on him and taken him to her domaine, the land of fairies. This answers our question of why he isn't more freaked out to be in modern day Edinburgh with electric lights and motor cars and restaurants - he thinks he's in fairy land!

Of course, he's not, but he doesn't know that until much later. Morgan is under the misunderstanding that he is some drunken actor who works at the castle as a reenactor for tourists. Despite his rugged blonde good looks she takes an instant dislike to him for she also thinks he's a thief and wants nothing to do with him. There is lots of confusion and miscommunication. From the time Alasdair lands in the twentieth century, history has suddenly changed, yet the only ones who seems to know this are Morgan and Alasdair, though neither of them knows why. Alasdair seems to think he must seduce Morgan to get back to his own world, so he sets out to do it, but she'll have none of him, despite her body's natural inclinations to do otherwise. It was fun to read about his attempts and the way she cleverly foiled each one. Her sister doesn't help matters for she instantly takes a liking to Alasdair and invites him to have dinner with them, which eventually leads to their sharing a drive across Scotland to his home which is far away on an island. Along the trip, Morgan and Alasdair share the back seat and become closer while her sister smiles approvingly encouraging them (and giving them no choice) to share a room at the roadside inns and B&B's they stop at.. Their feelings for each other are growing, yet they're both frustratingly under the wrong impressions about each other! Gradually, Morgan figures out he's a time traveler and she wants to help him return to his century, despite the fact she's falling for him.

How can Alasdair get back to his own time and seven year old son, and will Morgan be able to resist his kisses and kilted sexiness before he goes back - if he even can go back?

This was a cute story and the Scottish folk tales that are interspersed throughout the storyline added to it. The tales, recounted by Alasdair, add a poignancy and foreshadowing to what we suspect will ultimately happen at the end. It would have been a really good book, if only Morgan hadn't been so incredibly stupid and naive when it's staring her right in the face that Alasdair is a good man and he is not still in love with his dead wife! She was so dense! But, it's understandable since she's been hurt before and is not sure of herself and how men think of her. There were also some ramblings bits of description that I found unecessary - do I really need to know what it's like to watch the ferry guys direct cars and point to where they're supposed to park so as to fit every car in?

I really loved Alasdair, he was adorable at times and he really grew on me. I enjoyed the many faux pas he makes in modern times and the way he handles them (still thinking he's in the land of fairies). It was so funny and absurd that he thought Morgan was the great Morgan le Fey with her sister and brother-in-law as her loyal advisors. I did wonder that Morgan didn't think he was kind of nutty since he kept calling her milady and referring to her domaine and stuff. She's pretty clueless most of the time. Morgan is so ordinary and normal with no hint of grandeur or the makings of a sorceress, yet Alasdair is smitten with her on first sight and it was very cute how he tries to win her, for he thinks by wooing her she will send him back to his world. It was sad and touching when he finally finds out that Morgan is not a great fairy and she doesn't have the power to send him back. I felt sorry for him for he became so disheartened and realized the hopelessness of his situation. Despite that, the book has an overall lighthearted humerous feel to it with many funny moments, though they were offset by Morgan's density, bordering on TSTL. She was hard to like because of it, but overall it was a good story and not bad for a Scottish time travel novel, though I've read better.



Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Sorry it was a little disappointing, sounds like it was still ok though!! :)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Carrie, it wasn't bad, but nothing all that memorable, I'm afraid.

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