Nicole Franklin decided that the best way to get over her deadbeat boyfriend was a sudden change of scenery. So he’d never taken her to Europe even though she’d made it clear she’d love a fancy vacation? She’d take herself! Unfortunately, all of her planning went into getting out of dodge, so what’s a girl going to do about little things like money, a place to stay, and…oh…a visa? Enter Harrison Troy, a UK national in sudden need of an assistant for his yearly trip to his family’s estate/tour agency. When Nic finds out his family is behind her fantasy Outlander vacation package she is sold, but there might be a few things her uptight employer forgot to mention…
Overall, Kira Archer’s latest novel, Scotland or Bust, is a cute romp about two total opposites and complete strangers stumbling into a relationship with one another. Add a cast of unique, fun, and genuinely warm characters and a smattering of Outlander hijinks, and it’s a light, summer read that almost any romance reader can enjoy (there are even a few obligatory kilt mentions). Honestly, while Harrison’s grandmother would probably drive me crazy in real life (I’m not sure I could handle Granny streaking on the battlements) I hope I enjoy each day that much when I’m elderly. Harrison’s friendships and the friendships between their spouses also rang true, and Kira Archer knows how to write women who actually support one another instead of constantly competing for a man (no evil, heinous exes to be negatively compared to the heroine in her books that I’ve seen so far).
However, if you’ve read my other reviews the fact that I’ve frontloaded so much positivity is a sign that I struggled with some aspects of Scotland or Bust. To be more precise Nicole lost me with her first appearance in the book, and I never was able to get back on board with her character. I remained stuck in Harrison’s first impression of the oversharing, talkative, and flirtatious girl whose response to a seat mate with take off anxiety was offering to make out (spoiler alert: they do, and they both liked it). Nic’s egregious infodump about why she was traveling made my introvert self curl up in a ball and hide. Even as the story progressed, and I saw that Nic is also an extremely capable assistant with the incredible ability to turn set backs into opportunities and deals with the most eccentric Troy clan members with ease (she magically fits into Harrison’s family, which also didn’t work for me) I couldn’t let go of the feeling that our heroine was really a flighty girl trying to pull a geographic (changing locale with the intent of fixing problems but continuing to make the same type of choices that caused problems before), rather than a heroine that I could identify with on any level.
I did identify with Harrison on many levels since his strait laced personality matches aspects of mine. However, I never fully bought into his attraction to Nic beyond the physical, probably because I didn’t fall in love with her as I read the book. I also didn’t entirely understand the issues he had with his family although it was very clear they provided a lot of fodder for town gossip!
Would I recommend Scotland or Bust? Yes; it didn’t work for me, but many readers who enjoy less explicit, contemporary novels will love the whirlwind romance of an American girl breaking down her British boss’ stiff upper lip. It’s sweet, light, and completely unoffensive. It’s just not quite the romance for me.
3.5 Animal Skeletons Falling out of the Ceiling out of 5