I have a pet peeve and it is titles and covers and the way they relate…or don’t…to content. A case in point is a recent novel by Donna Kauffman published by Kensington Brava. The title is…Some Like it Scot…and the cover photo is mostly the torso and lower face of a fairly buff, but not overly so guy in a black T-shirt. Fairly innocuous, right? Looks like the book will be hot and funny, right? Wrong. I’m not saying that it’s not very sexy because it is, but it’s not just a light and funny beach-read fluff novel. It’s a modern day fairy tale with angst, tension, crumbling castles, past lives, but not clutch your sides and slap your thighs laughs. The hero is a very big and I mean very big Scottish scientist, absent-minded, bespeckled, brilliant, incredibly responsible and caring for his people. He’s the modern-day leader of a small group of islanders in the Hebrides who are renowned for their remarkable skills in growing flax and producing linen threads to weave into works-of-art baskets. It’s an age old skill but with the help of the Laird and his childhood friends the cottage industry is helping to bring these souls into the 21st century. There is a catch. The Laird must marry an available member of the other clan who lives on the island thereby merging their families for another generation of prosperity. If he doesn’t find a suitable mate by the equinox, then the leadership falls to the highest member of the other clan regardless where they live or what they do, on or off the island. In this case, the other clan leader is a wealthy, charming off-islander who is more than willing to step into the leadership shoes if Laird MacLeod can’t find a woman in time. However he hasn’t a clue what it means to sheppard a flock of flax artisans into prosperity, in fact he doesn’t know what flax artisans even do! After 400 years McAuley females are in short supply on the island although there seems to be an abundance of MacLeod women to choose from for the upstart McAuley Laird. Enter the Internet and social media. Now it could get really funny here, but Kauffman chooses to go the romantic route instead and I applaud her for this. A suitable woman is found and Laird MacLeod is persuaded to hop a ferry, and several planes to bring her back. Unfortunately his friends neglect to give him all the details except for the location at a specific time and date where he can find his prospective mate. They also inform him that he must be in formal Highland attire (kilt, sword and all) for the occasion. Laird MacLeod in a moment of supreme stupidity agrees and finds himself a day or so later dressed in all his finery walking up to a lovely church in Annapolis, Maryland only to find out that his intended just happens to be an almost, albeit reluctant, bride. Mayhem ensues, and the romance begins with all its attendant hurdles and ravines.
Maybe Kensington Brava is smarter than I think though. It’s quite possible that I wouldn’t have picked up the book if the cover depicted a field of flax, a crumbling castle (enormous but with only one livable room) or a guy with glasses in a lab coat. But I really believe in truth in advertising, and I’d like to be able to use the cover of a book as a window into the story. But then that’s just me. Nevertheless, I loved the book as I have all of Ms Kauffman’s other novels and will continue to pick them up regardless of cover art and unrelated titles.
Review by Pam Headrick