Release Date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Time Travel Romance
It's tough being a woman in a man's profession, especially for Abby Kerr, the unexpected chieftess of Clan Kerr. Loathe to marry but in need of a strong arm, Abby wishes for a Scots warrior and gets . . . Duncan, the historical reenactment hobbyist.
Wall Street Impresario Duncan MacHarg isn't bad with a fencing foil, but he's no Highlander. When a misdirected spell plucks him from the 21st century, he lands in 1705 Scotland at the feet of the fiercest woman he's ever laid eyes on.
If ye believe as I do we only learn from mistakes, then the wiser the woman, the more foolish choices you will find in her past.
[on penises]"no bigger than a very average turnip-"
"When they're soft! But hard-"
"Oh, aye, hard they are invested with the pomp and splendor of a common least weasel. And yet somehow we are to believe they are the divine lightnihg rod of God's glory here on Earth."
Surprisingly funny. Unexpectedly touching. Impossible plot yet very engaging. Entertaining banter. Hella sexy. Great new fantasy series.
That about sums up JUST IN TIME FOR A HIGHLANDER by Gwyn Cready. Since Outlander hit the small screen, time travel romance is trending and we're seeing a lot of these Highland romances lately. I haven't read much myself, but I can give Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands a solid recommendation. The premise is really simple; a witch cast a spell which transported sexy fire crotch, Duncan MacHarg, to 18th century Scotland because Kerr clan chieftain, Abby, is in need of a man with certain... functions. Not necessarily sexual but Clan Kerr is in dire straits so aside from a decent bed partner, Abby needs a savior more than anything else.
I knew JUST IN TIME FOR A HIGHLANDER was going to be a good, if not a great read, when I found myself laughing so hard 5% in. And the laughter didn't stop there, GCready inserted a lot of humorous dialogue and situations, from penis jokes to plain sarcasm. Anything that can make me laugh is always a good thing. The humor comes as a great and pleasant surprise too because I was expecting a hot and heavy romance a la Outlander, and instead I got something light, at times silly, and overall fantastical time travel love story.
Abby Kerr is a woman beyond her time. She's a clan chief and a woman at that (were there female clan chiefs?), she is self-possessed, honor-bound, compassionate, stern, and can be both a lady and a wench at the same time. In short, Abby will frack a man if she feels like it and you can't use it against her. As for Duncan MacHarg, he might be a man from the future but his heart belongs in the past. I mean, how adorable is this dude? He's a financial adviser by day, living the swanky life back in NY, but over the weekends he's a reenactor for the Battle of Fort Duquense, and can scream as good and loud as any woman?! I absolutely find him adorable! Now despite these... rather fair qualities, Duncan is a Scotsman through and through, worthy of his kilt, and a romp in the sack too ;).
Now, I must admit, at times I had problems suspending disbelief on some parts of JUST IN TIME FOR A HIGHLANDER. Like how fast Duncan acclimated to 1705 Scotland and how he didn't seem to resist the idea of time travel hard enough. Maybe it's just me taking things too seriously sometimes, but I half expect a logical financial adviser, like Duncan, accustomed to all the conveniences of the 21st century, to not question his sanity or crave the world he knows or has gotten used to. At the same time, it was quite easy for me to dismiss these things because of the precedent and the humorous feel of the novel. Also it wasn't all silly, there were quite a few heartfelt scenes between the characters one of which when Abby asked Duncan if the Scotland she knows will survive to which Duncan answered that it will not, much to Abby's heartbreak. Overall, I'm excited to read the next Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands, I'm sure it's going to be another hoot!
Time Travel is Pretty Heady Stuff
by Gwyn Cready
People ask what first attracted me to time travel writing. I like to say that being able to play with time makes me feel all-powerful, and, let’s face it, that’s a pretty good feeling. The truth is I’ve been a time travel fan for as long as I can remember. For many people of a certain age, my first exposure to time travel was in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol—in my case, the Mr. Magoo version. The idea of being able to observe oneself in one’s past fascinated me. The idea of being able to observe oneself in one’s possible future terrified me. It terrified me because it reminded me how tenuous one’s future is and how quickly the smallest action can change it.
Then came episodes of Star Trek, Bewitched, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Lost in Space. But if A Christmas Carol was my primer on time travel, Back to the Future, Parts 1, 2, and 3, was my Bible. Those utterly charming movies made me see the wide range of entertaining and thought-provoking questions time travel raises—Can you change your future? Can you become a better person? If you got a chance to do things over, what if anything would you change? Were your parents ever cool? (And, of course, the answer to that is a resounding no. Ask my children.)
After BTTF, I became a time travel aficionado. I loved Quantum Leap, Peggy Sue Got Married, Time After Time, Terminator, Austin Powers, and Kate and Leopold. I laughed when Bruce Willis meets his adorably irritating younger self in Disney’s The Kid and wept when Ray gets to play baseball with his dad in Field of Dreams.
My favorite time travel novel is the Time Traveler’s Wife. Pack Kleenex. My favorite time travel movie is 13 Going on 30. When Jenna pops into her future and discovers that the choices she made in high school severed her forever from the boy who was her best friend, it’s absolutely heart-breaking. Do we ever realize how the choices we’ve made led us to the exact spot we are in our lives, or that one single different choice could mean the life we live now would be totally unrecognizable?
FOR GOD’S SAKE, PEOPLE, TIME TRAVEL IS PRETTY HEADY STUFF!!!
And that’s what attracts me to it as a writer. I want to find out what people do when put in a time where what they know isn’t necessarily helpful, where they have to adjust to a new world and discover things about themselves and others they didn’t know. Time travel helps separate what’s important—love, honor, bravery, loyalty—from what’s not—money, possessions, status. It also makes characters ask, “Am I going to be the same person I was before, or am I going to use this opportunity to re-make myself into someone better?”
In a romance, the hero and heroine have to change in order the earn the right to be loved by the other, and the change should be painful and fundamental. Lizzie Bennet has to overcome her prejudice against the wealthy, and Mr. Darcy has to battle his pride. (Or was it the other way around? I always get them confused.) Time travel is ripe with opportunities for change. Time travel also adds another layer to the traditional love story: In which time period will the lovers end up? The character willing to forgo his home and time wins the reader’s heart. I generally like the hero to be the one who chooses to give up his time. (I’m not saying it happens in Just in Time for a Highlander.) Heck, it’s a love story written by a woman for women. Why shouldn’t the hero be willing to give up everything in order to win the heroine? What could be a more noble gesture? <long, happy sigh>
What do you think? Does time travel up the ante for you? Should the hero always be the one who gives up everything for love?
Gwyn Cready is a RITA Award-winning romance novelist. She's been called "the master of time travel romance." She lives in Pittsburgh.