Georgette Thorold is a lady born and bred, with all of the idiosyncrasies (plus a few more that is uniquely Georgette's) that goes with being one. She is proper and precise in everything that she does -- so how did she end up in bed with a stranger, with a ring on her finger and no recollection of how she got there?
James MacKenzie isn't one to act spontaneously either. As the town's solicitor and former black sheep (he has reformed) of his family, James is trying to walk the straight and narrow. But, like Georgette, he wakes up with a gash on his forehead and not knowing how he got there.
When James discovers that his money purse is gone (with his life's savings), he has no choice but to track down his assailant. Along the way, he grapples with the damage he has wrought, the bills that are stacking up for said damages and a lost horse.
After piecing together bits of what happened to her the night before and from the accounts of her newly-hired maid (and former tavern wench), Georgette also needs to find James to get some answers -- and, hopefully, an annulment.
As the two move closer and closer to each other, as each one picks up more clues of the night before, Georgette finds herself more fascinated by James, who doesn't seem quite so strange to her anymore. And James is more determined to persecute this woman who stole his purse, his horse, his bachelorhood ...
I will start off by saying that this has for to be one of the best debut historical romance novels I have had the pleasure of reading.
McQuiston's writing is fresh and insightful. She provides a new perspective and way of telling a love story. While the plot is not new, she uses the "morning after" storyline and makes her own by shifting the story from the normal adventure and hijinks to one of slow discovery and romance.
He peered up at the bit of clothing that had caught his attention. The corset he had spied earlier hung from the drapery rod like a demented flag. Up close he could see the fine stitching and silk ribbons that lines the edges...
William's voice tickled his ear. "I don't think it's your size, Jamie-boy, which leaves me to wonder what you want with that bit of frippery. Memento of the evening you have forgotten? A spoil of war, perhaps?"
"It is a clue." James stepped gingerly into the hallway and peered down the dank, musty stairwell.
William's chuckle pierced the shadows that swept in from all sides. "Ah, like Cinderella's slipper."
He focused on feeling his way along the sticky wall until the bannister fit into his hand. "No, not like Cinderella. She didn't attack the prince the day after the ball..."
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She's able to inject humor into the story without making it too zany or gimmicky. I love her sense of humor -- it's very intelligent and very sharp.
"My friends call me James," he interrupted, taking back the upper hand she was attempting to verbally wrestle from him.
She licked her lips. "James, then ..."
He raised an imperious brow. "You will call me Mr. MacKenzie."
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Central to her story is the question, "Is it possible to fall in love with a person in a day?" -- As James and Georgette try to retrace their steps, to figure out what happened to them the night before, we see as well the development of their relationship -- their journey to love is, admittedly, unconventional -- but, I think, that is part of the charm of this story: they form their opinion of the other with clear (if not a bit hungover), objective eyes. By the time they meet each other, they have a good sense of who they are dealing with. I love that the relationship grows not from physical attraction but from affinity and compatibility -- they work well together.
It seemed she was dealing with more than a rogue in her bed -- the man she sought had layers she had not anticipated.
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This is a story that tugs you in all the right ways and places. It tugs at the corners of your mouth and makes you smile and laugh at the endearing characters and circumstances that happen in the story. It tugs at your heartstrings and leaves you warm and fuzzy as Georgette and James figure each other out (and there is the matter of James's estrangement with his family).
On the whole, a most excellent story. I have now added another author to my ever-growing list of auto-buy authors. ^_^
What Happens in Scotland is the stunningly awesome debut novel by Jennifer McQuiston and will be released on February 26, 2013. To find out more about Jennifer McQuiston, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.
Disclosure: I received the ARC through Edelweiss. (Thank you to Avon Romance for accepting my request.) Yes, this is an honest review.
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This is how much I loved the book! I'm giving away a copy to celebrate the release of this wonderful, wonderful, amazing, amazing debut by Jennifer McQuiston.
Copy can be via Kindle or The Book Depository. (Book is valued at $5.99)
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*Rafflecopter will select one (1) winner who will receive a copy of What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston (can be digital via Kindle or paperback via The Book Depository). Book is valued at $5.99
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