Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Highland Fling by Katie Fforde

326 pages
Copyright 2003
St. Martin's Press
New York NY

It was purely on a whim that I picked up from my library Highland Fling, another of British romance writer Katie Fforde's books. Surprisingly enough it didn't turn out to be the type of read I expected.

The Plot (courtesy of the publisher):

"After a fight with her boyfriend, a business trip to Scotland is the perfect diversion for Jenny Porter, who works as a virtual assistant for a financial executive. Dispatched to assess a failing textile mill, Jenny instead finds herself determined to save it at any cost after befriending its charming employees. That cost might just be her sanity as she stretches her resources, patience, and compassion to the outer limits.

"As she gets to know the colorful Dalmain clan, Jenny just can't say no when asked to help run a mobile food stand, save the family business, put an overbearing matriarch in her place, rekindle an old romance, or throw a dinner party for sixteen on short notice. Then there's the problem of being attracted to the dashing yet abrasive Ross Grant, who has a way of showing up just when things seem almost sane and manageable.

"The majestic Scottish highlands, covered in purple heather and dotted with sheep and llamas, provide a dramatic backdrop while Jenny tries to pull everything together in time to save the mill and figure out her increasingly complicated personal life..."

My Thoughts:
As I said, it was purely on a whim that I picked up Highland Fling. I was currently working my way through a very long book and felt a brief reading diversion was needed. As you may recall I read two other books by Ms. Fforde (Practically Perfect and Bidding For Love) earlier this summer, and while I did have some minor objections (i.e. to the story and/or the writing style), I enjoyed them for the most part... At least for what the type of books that they are: chick-lit novels, stories of pure fluff, tales of love and adventure for the 20-something British girl. I rated both of those books fairly high between a 3 and 4. Unfortunately Highland Fling didn't fare so well. On a scale of 1-5, 1 being horrible and 5 being excellent I would rate it a 2.

Why so low? Well, for starters I found several of the main characters annoying. I think Ms. Fforde was trying to develop a feisty relationship between the female and male protagonists. You know, the kind of verbal sparring that readers find so romantic in books like Pride and Prejudice, North and South, or even Anne of Green Gables. Unfortunately it didn't come off in this book. Jenny's character is rude and mean and the male protagonist is gruff and a little one-dimensional. As for the other characters, a few were likable, but most were a combination of snobbish, patronizing, selfish, and down right obnoxious.

The other problem I had with the book had to do with the quantity and quality of language and love scenes. Previously in my reviews I have praised Ms. Fforde's writing for it's lack of profanity. I cannot say the same of Highland Fling. There was a great deal of profanity, albeit mostly offensive to readers in the States rather than those in the UK. As for the love scenes -- while there was only one specific scene -- the characters in the book (particularly Jenny) seemed obsessed with lust rather than love. I found myself wrinkling my nose insead of sighing as I might have done while reading Pride and Prejudice, North and South, or Anne of Green Gables (to name a few.)

That said, I did find the whole story plot revolving around saving Dalmain Mills clever and unique. But in the end the book's "happily ever after" ending seemed to end on a rushed note and I was left thinking and feeling Highland Fling was just not one of Ms. Fforde's better books. In my opinion pass this one over and find something else to read.


Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Hmm I like your thoughts. However, what if it was her intention to keep those characters snobbish and lustful. It is possible in real life.

S. Mehrens said...

If that was the case, then that's fine. Other readers might not mind, but personally (and my review was my personal opinion) it just wasn't my type of book.

Ladytink_534 said...

I've never heard of this author before! Sorry you didn't enjoy it though. I would almost be tempted to pick this up from the synopsis but the problems you had would have me setting it aside fairly quickly.