It Happened in Scotland
Author: Patience Griffin
I have a soft spot for stories set in the British Isles. When I think of some of the movies I love, it’s no surprise that The Quiet Man, P.S. I Love You, and the wonderfully quirky The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain are in the top ten. The scenery is as significant as the story—even part of the story. I was inclined to like It Happened in Scotland by its location alone. Griffin made a bold move by setting her story during the cold winter months that do not hold the scenic glamor of spring and summer. The bitter winds off the ocean fit the sad, if hopeful beginning to It Happened in Scotland.
Rachel had a bad marriage to Joe, Brodie’s cousin. The two were as close as brothers, and both loved Rachel. Rachel, not really knowing her own mind at the time had come to Scotland for the wedding. That’s when she met Brodie and fell in love with him. Still, she went through with the wedding and lived to regret it. The couple were in the process of getting a divorce when Joe died unexpectedly. Years later, Rachel is returning to Scotland so their young daughter can get to know her father’s family and country.
Rachel realizes almost immediately that she wants a second chance with Brodie who has been simultaneously missing and hating her for six years. I wanted more about Brodie besides his broken heart and the guilt he carries about loving his cousin’s wife. What’s Brodie doing out on his fishing boat? In January? What does he do with his haul each day? There’s a discussion about him being able to support a wife and family, but in what manner? Does he smell like fish or the ocean? We needed more Brodie details.
At its heart, this is a story of second chances. There was a lot of denial, questioning, and not enough romance between main characters Brodie and Rachel. It needed about 50% less angst and 30% more description of the scenic town that was so dear, Rachel wants to call it home. Where’s the verbal brochure? (Probably in the first five books.) Still, Griffin is occasionally wonderfully insightful and I liked her writing style.
In the strictest sense, It Happened in Scotland can be read as a standalone book, with a beginning, middle, and end, but it really is the sixth in the series. As a new comer, I was aware of missing context even as I got a complete story. That context was most obvious in a cast a side characters which really made the story, but of whom I was not well acquainted. In a town that small, they have to touch on each other’s lives, but having the focus change so often was unsettling. I think if I knew them better it would have been a welcome check in with other books.
I’m always weary of anything with “women’s fiction” attached to it. It seems to be the catch-all category for women being depressed and working through it…and working us all through it too. Heaven help us. This was less “women’s fiction,” made palatable with more romance. Sitting and sewing and stewing is a lovely way to spend time, but not much to write about and it shows. I felt like an observer and not like a part of the story. Lots of open questions, it’s definitely a mid-series novel. It’s good and I liked it, but don’t expect more than that.
After pulling herself out of a three-year fog of grief over the loss of her husband, Joe, Rachel is bringing their five-year-old daughter to see his hometown of Gandiegow and visit with his grandfather. But Rachel wasn’t planning on running into Joe’s cousin, the man who made her have second thoughts at the altar…
Brodie has come home to help his grandfather’s fishing business, but he’d prefer not to see Rachel. Although she did break his heart six years ago, the grip she has on him hasn’t faltered. If they can stop butting heads long enough and learn to overcome the past, they may find new love in the new year…
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Series: Kilts and Quilts #6
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction
Format(s): paperback (384 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley