All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn

on October 14, 2021

The Highland Fling
Meghan Quinn
Montlake
2021, 350p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}: Freshly fired from her third job in a row, Bonnie St. James has lost her way. So when she and her best friend stumble upon a “help wanted” post to run a coffee shop in the Scottish Highlands, they apply on a whim. Who knows? Maybe traveling to a new place is just what she needs to figure out her next move.

When the friends arrive in the tiny idyllic town of Corsekelly, they instantly fall for the gorgeous Highland landscape and friendly townspeople. But Bonnie finds a less-than-warm welcome in Rowan MacGregor, the rugged local handyman. Busy wrestling his own demons, Rowan’s in no mood to deal with the quirky American—even if she is a bonny lass.

As Bonnie and Rowan’s paths inevitably cross, insults—and sparks—fly. Can the pair build on their similarities to help each other find purpose and direction…and maybe romance too? Or will their passionate tempers fling them apart?

I actually preordered this (got it really cheap) after seeing it highlighted somewhere. Maybe a Goodreads romance wrap up or something like that. I’ve been buying a lot of books like this lately (contemporary romance with a lot of humour) but to be honest, the results have been hit and miss for me and this one? Is another miss.

I almost DNF’d this many times. Look, I understand that arriving in a foreign country is daunting, particularly when they drive on the other side of the road. But there’s a whole scene which is just so over the top and paints Bonnie in the most ridiculous manner and I thought okay, maybe it was just because she was so stressed. But no. Bonnie is pretty much like that, all the time.

Enemies to lovers has a bit of a knack to it for me, because it’s difficult to get the enemies bit right without making the bickering feel really annoying and in this book, the bickering between Bonnie and Rowan is really annoying. They are so childish and awful (particularly Bonnie) and it’s peppered with weird moments like the bats and drunken dancing. Everyone smiling smugly and “knowing” that they’re into each other is weird, especially because they keep saying it in front of both of them and they’ve only known each other like, three hours.

I wanted more Scotland, more actual cafe stuff, more showcasing the small village and the differences for them after coming from LA. Instead so much is focused on Bonnie and after all that focusing, here’s what I know about Bonnie:

  1. She likes cake
  2. She’s been fired a lot, for someone who is early 20s
  3. She’s horny
  4. That’s it. That’s all.

Bonnie is self-involved, self-absorbed, a bad friend and not a great girlfriend either. Luckily this is balanced out by the fact that Bonnie’s friend Dakota is almost as bad a friend as Bonnie is and Rowan is a terrible boyfriend with an anger management problem and Daddy issues out the wazoo. These people are both terrible to each other and probably it’s best that they don’t inflict themselves on normal people.

The first 75% of this was a 1-star book. However the last section is actually much better: Rowan and his family have to actually address the toxic mess that their family has become, a lot of stuff that’s been simmering below the surface between a lot of characters is aired out and addressed and resolved and there’s some genuine emotion and feeling in this portion of the book. And actually, I didn’t mind the sex scenes either. Bonnie’s a confident character in bed, an instigator and I liked the way they were written.

But. I felt like there were still things that were so unnecessary in this book and in the behaviour of all the main characters, in particular, Rowan’s blow up. It’s true that he catches Bonnie in a place that makes him feel raw and exposed and that he’s also just received some devastating news. But screaming in her face was so off-putting – it felt like such a display of toxic masculinity when he could’ve chosen to confide in her, to connect with her, to bring her into his life. Instead he went over the top ridiculous in his manner of telling her off and it honestly gave me red flags. I had liked Rowan better than Bonnie up until that point but reading that really put me off him, despite the circumstances.

I felt like the set up of this book – the girls moving to Scotland to take over the cafe – was actually lost for a really big portion of the book. I just wanted to read more about that, and I get the cafe wasn’t thriving, and why….but it seemed like they waited a really long time to implement the (very good) changes that Bonnie came up with. Like, what were they doing every day? Just sitting in an empty building, doing nothing? It was kind of weird. I feel like there could’ve been a lot more about that, as well as exploring the area and interacting with people. I have this feeling that some of the other characters might pop up in books in the future…..but I don’t think I’ll be reading them.

This was a really disappointing read for me but it has a lot of very high ratings on Goodreads, so might just be a case of me just not vibing with the story and the characters.

3/10

Book #175 of 2021


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