Highland Laddie Gone
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Later: After finishing the entire series, I think this one's perhaps my favorite - very, very funny, and with major appearances from Elizabeth's wonderfully snide cousin Geoffrey as well as from a certain Scottish marine biologist who will play a large part in Elizabeth's life.
This story also does some riffs on fandom; it's set at a Scottish festival in western Virginia, which Elizabeth attends because she's mad about things Scottish - though, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that she's fonder of storybook Scottish than the real stuff. She arrives at the festival with her cousin Geoffrey in tow (though he points out that "if our theatre group weren't performing Brigadoon next spring you would never have got me to come"), and with the official clan bobcat as well. Got to love a book that opens with a bobcat in the car!
The descriptions of the machinations behind the festival are hilarious, whether focused on historical accuracy vs. appealing to tourists, or on personal power within the committees that run things. And Elizabeth, having spotted an appealing and very genuine Scotsman, finds herself unable to focus on anything else:
Elizabeth hung on every syllable, listening to the vowel sounds, the trilled r's and uvular l's, and making no sense at all of the words.(Elizabeth isn't always as dizzy as she sounds in that bit, in case you were wondering!)
Brown eyes, she was thinking. I thought Scots had blue eyes. And his hair is so pretty. What would you call that color? Russet? Sorrel?
"...which has interesting evolutionary implications, don't you agree?"
Elizabeth sighed. "I love your r's."
Cameron blinked. "Er - ah - yours is quite nice, too."
There are lots of little subplots in this story, most of them intersecting in unexpected ways, and nearly all of them very funny - with one or two rather sad threads woven in for contrast. The artistic and sarcastic Geoffrey winds up taking some surprising parts in the action, and even though he was clueless about Scottish games at first [check out the bit about the caber toss!], he's a quick study. And the backchat between him and Elizabeth (or him and anyone else, for that matter) is always enjoyable.
Oh, yeah, there's a murder, too, and it gets solved. But I think I'd have enjoyed the story almost as much without it!
The series, in order:
Sick of Shadows
Lovely in Her Bones
Highland Laddie Gone
Paying the Piper
The Windsor Knot
If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him
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