I’m always wary about romances with any sort of reference to Scotland. I don’t have anything against Scotland itself; I fully intend to travel there one day. It’s just that romances with Scottish heroes tend to be the same story over and over – overbearing Laird, feisty lass, some squabble between clans to be overcome, highlands, etc. Some of the least loved novels by favorite authors are the ones they’ve set in Scotland.
So When Jennifer McQuiston’s first novel came out last year, I resisted because it was called What Happens in Scotland, despite the fact that everyone was raving about it and it had a great cover (and I rarely notice covers). Here, look:
So I didn’t read it, and I’m now regretting it, because really enjoyed Summer is for Lovers. (What Happened in Scotland is 99 cents on Kindle right now, so that will be remedied fairly quickly. ) But back to the new one, which also has a lovely cover.
David Cameron has been tricked. After bringing his supposedly ailing mother to Brighton to take the waters, he’s found himself bombarded with young ladies of marriageable age, while his mother has made a marked improvement. Seeking respite from the hordes, he retreats to a beach he hasn’t seen in years–and finds a woman he’s never quite been able to forget.
Caroline Tolbertson just wants to be left alone. But her mother is determined to see her married off, no matter Caroline’s protests–or her embarassing lack of suitors. Seeing David Cameron, her childhood crush, again sets her heart racing, but she’s older and wiser now. And no, that wasn’t her heart sinking when David suggested a faux courtship instead of the real thing.
But Caroline has never been very good at following the rules, and the fake attraction soon grows into the real thing. Now Caroline has more scandalous pursuits in mind and David is finding it very hard to say no to his gorgeous friend. Will giving in to temptation send them both down a path they each claim to abhor–straight to the altar?
So yes, Summer Is for Lovers has a Scottish hero, but the story is set in Brighton. Brighton is, of course, one of those places that is integral to Jane Austen but that she doesn’t ever actually allow the reader to visit, so it was great fun visiting it here and seeing the interaction between our heroine Caroline, a full time resident “townie”, and the London vacationers. Caroline is a misfit with everyone, so her friendship with David is especially meaningful.
David Cameron might be Scottish, but he begins the novel not with a show of strength but depressed and vulnerable, and saved by a young Caroline. He was immediately sensitive, mysterious, and honorable, and it pulled me right in. I liked David all the way through, which is rare. Likeable hero, unconventional heroine, unusual setting, and the fake engagement setup – it’s a collection of all my favorite romance parts.
I read elsewhere that the author did not realize when picking a name that David Cameron was already taken. So please don’t think of the important but rather puffy-faced Prime Minister of Britain. Instead I suggest you picture a slightly different David:
Or, you know, there’s a book trailer to provide inspiration as well:
A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at http://www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites.
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