Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Time Travel | Historical
She can work her magic on any man...
In a quest to bring peace to her beloved Scottish borderlands, fortune-teller and spy Undine Douglas agrees to marry a savage English colonel. Desperate to delay the wedding long enough to undermine the army's plans, Undine casts a spell to summon help and unexpectedly finds herself under the imperious gaze of the handsome and talented Michael Kent, twenty-first century British theater director.
But in this production, he commands the action...
Though he abandoned acting years ago, Michael will play whatever part it takes to guard Undine's safety—he's used to managing London's egocentric actors and high-handed patrons, after all. But not even Shakespeare could have foreseen the sparks that fly when the colonel's plans force Undine and Michael into the roles of their lifetimes.
To me, Gwyn Cready's Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands is like a romcom version of Outlander. Angus Mohr (RIP) could easily fit into this world.
But instead of magical stones, Undine Murray is the one responsible for all the time traveling that's been happening, and EVERY TIME A HIGHLANDER is her book. Though the books are relatively romantic in nature, three an underlying seriousness to the overarching plot and that is England taking Scotland under their Empire which, of course, our beloved high and low landers are trying and fighting to stop. It's this sense of desperation that Undine grabbed Michael Kent, actor/director, in the middle of a Shakespearean performance and brought him to 1700 Scotland to help her delay and maybe stop her pending marriage to Bridgewater, one of the key players in this takeover and a villainous person a la the Sheriff of Nottingham.
What Three Qualities Every Romantic Hero Needs
You say, are we talking physical or personality qualities? Well, just pull your mind out of the gutter and let’s really consider this. There are certain physical qualities every hero seems to have—at least nearly every hero portrayed on a romance novel cover. Have we ever seen one who wasn’t handsome, cut, and sporting at least a glimpse of hair-less chest? And while that’s fine (and by that I mean fine), that isn’t the only thing women find attractive in men right? I like a nice smattering of chest hair, for example. I have also found any number of men without broad shoulders and muscles to be both handsome and extremely sexy. There are some women who find a slighter build attractive. Heck, there are even women who actually find broad shoulders and muscles off-putting. Personally, I’d much rather find a guy who loved to give foot rubs.
And don’t even get me started on the cover heroes who look nothing like the men in the stories. Every Time with a Highlander has a hero who’s probably close to 50. He started as a theater actor, became a star, then left acting to direct. He’s handsome and tall, but, believe me, he doesn’t spend his free time pumping iron. Actors have to be ready to disappear into any role. They can’t look like they just stepped out of a WWF match. There just aren’t that many wrestling roles in the drama world. But there was no point in telling my publisher that. I knew I was going to be getting a 30-year-old model who looks like he could uproot a tree with one arm on my cover. DO WE REALLY NEED GASTON ON EVERY BOOK??? How cool would it be if, just once, we showed a guy with a receding hairline and some laughter lines at the corner of his eyes? That’s all I’m sayin’.
Where were we? Ah, yes, the three qualities every romance hero must have. Well, clearly my answer isn’t big arms and a GQ face. In fact, I can say with utmost confidence that physical attributes have nothing to do with what makes a hero a hero. I once fell in love with a science fiction hero—and you would, too—who was both deformed and extremely short. IT’S WHAT’S UNDERNEATH THAT MATTERS. And, no, I don’t mean his tailored trousers. I’m the kind of writer who needs to fall in love with the hero she’s creating, so the hero rules for me are:
- The hero must be good at what he does. There is nothing sexier than a guy who’s found his groove and does it well. I don’t care if he’s a maintenance guy, a dock worker, or the CEO of a company. If he does it well, I’m liking it. (By the way, the corollary of this is, if he doesn’t do anything because he’s rich, that’s not sexy at all.)
- The hero much be willing to sacrifice his own happiness for that of the heroine. I’m not saying she should take him up on it, but he must make it clear to the reader that the needs of the woman he loves come first. Romances are fantasies, and my fantasy is a guy who wants me to be happy. (Actually, my real life is a guy who wants me to be happy, too.)
- The hero has to be smart and funny. Sorry. I know that should probably be two rules, but the assignment was three, so I’m going to just stick them together. Actually, I’m not sure a hero could be funny if he wasn’t smart, so maybe just saying he has to be funny is enough.
That, my friends, is the recipe for me. What qualities does it take to be a great hero for you—I mean, other than a darned fine foot rub?
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You can win a copy of book 1, Just In Time for a Highlander,
by answering this question:
If you can return back in time, which hero, real or fictional, would you want to have a romantic affair with and why?
Leave your answer and email address or Twitter name on the comment section below.
Best answer wins.
Winner will be selected on August 14, 2016.