REVIEW: Highland Fling by Jennifer LaBrecque
See how well controversy sells? Reader Jaine (not her real name as we require all contributors to have a “J” name) bought the book and offered up a review for Dear Author. Currently, Highland Fling is No. 8 on the Fictionwise Romance Bestseller List.
Dear Ms. LaBrecque:
You know those romance books that are so bad, they’re really funny and somewhat campy? "Highland Fling" isn’t one of those; it’s worse. It’s boring. It’s very boring. It’s not even parody material.
Did any of your writing instructors talk about how tricky writing dialects can be? MacTavish was no Meryl Streep. He had a Scots brogue–sort of. He’d be dinna and lassying and bluidying along when he’d start sounding like Barry Fitzgerald, switch to Midwestern, 21st Century hip, and pepper the whole shebang with Hillbilly and pirate. ("mebbe"?! and "Aye. We be Jacobites.") But the poor laddie needna fash himself over much, since his personality and character had a LOT of facets too. Sort of an attributes du jour kind of guy. You name the trait, MacTavish had it. He was strong, arrogant, macho, fearsome, a leader, and protective ala any number of Julie Garwood Highland heroes. He was also, sweet, gentle, troubled, brooding, understanding, and a really quick study. In a week he arrives in a new century, learns how to dress, masters the internet, learns how to cook, and gets sufficiently into the swing of things to order a ring and do a public marriage proposal in a posh restaurant. Oh yes. I forgot. He also became a poet–which he always secretly yearned to be while life forced him to be a warrior–and got in oodles of good sex. In a week.
Speaking of sex, almost 25% of this novel was dedicated to inserting tab A into slot B. I read until MacTavish, the poet, in a flight of romantic excess, exclaimed "Ah, Katie-love, you have a bonnie set of tits." What a guy! But I started skimming.
You did make the book socially redeeming though, and in the true spirit of the green movement, you did it in maybe five pages total. Interspersed amongst the sex, the jealous antagonist (I’m not sure what purpose Dr. Campbell and her "underling" served in the story. "Mayhap" Blaze requires their books to have villains and she was it?), the Puck-like Hamish who lives concurrently on several planes, you covered the psychological consequences of a six-year old witnessing gang rape and murder, the loss of a mother through breast cancer, wife beating, and save a whole clan and leave its future progeny filthy rich.
BTW, your rejection of a money-back guarantee policy was an excellent business decision. I’d give this book an "F".