Jove, Mar 2003, 5.99, 272 pp.
In 1885, New York based businessman Duncan Campbell travels to remote Glencoly in the Scottish Highlands to evaluate his inheritance of Castle Glen and its estate as the new Laird. Duncan does not need or desire this property except to gloat in front of his deceased father, who thought he was a worthless American. When he meets the young widow of the nearly septuagenarian previous Laird, Fiona “Fee” MacLennan, he is shocked by her youth and beauty. He also likes her stepson Robby, who should have inherited the estate.
Duncan finds he enjoys his stay and obsesses over turning around the near bankrupt properties almost as much as he wants Fee. As the two fall in love, they must learn to trust one another even while she makes a legal attempt to prove Robby is the rightful Laird and he brings in modern business techniques that shake up the complacency of everyone. The duo must also contend with a neighbor who has bought up all the IOUs of the previous owner and plans to marry Fee in Castle Glen.
This late Victorian “Highland Fling” romance provides a fresh gender bending twist to the recent flood of wealthy nineteenth century Americans finding love in the British Isles. The exciting story line picturesquely yet briskly moves forward as Duncan tries to Americanize the estates while his tenants, employees, and his beloved Fee and Robby try to assimilate him into Scottish customs. The hostile takeover by the neighbors adds tension but also takes away from the wonderful basic theme of technology warring with tradition wrapped inside a captivating romance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner