Let the Games Begin …
William MacKenzie has always been protective of his Scottish village. When Moraig's economy falters, he has the perfect solution to lure wealthy Londoners to this tiny hamlet: resurrect the ancient Highland Games! But for this to work, William knows he needs a reporter to showcase the town in just the right light.
A female journalist might be a tolerated oddity in Brighton, but newly minted reporter Penelope Tolbertson is discovering that finding respect in London is a far more difficult prospect. After receiving an invitation to cover Moraig's Highland Games, Penelope is determined to prove to her London editors just how valuable she can be.
Penelope instantly captures William's heart, but she is none too impressed with the gruff, broody Highlander; however, as she begins to understand his plans, Penelope discovers she may want more from him than just a story. She's only got a few days … but maybe a few days are all they need.
McQuiston’s ability to engage and envelop readers in her stories,
Oh what a nice treat to return to Moraig, Scotland and dive into the world and concerns of the characters from Jennifer McQuiston’s Second Sons Series. I’ve read the 3 full length novels in this series, and loved them all, so it was a no-brainer to return.
William is worried about his little village: fiercely protective and loyal to it and the people who live there, things are tough for the town, and he is plotting to bring in tourists to boost the local economy and share this gem of the Highlands with those who may spend much needed coin. He decides to invite journalists to come and see the town, with a plan to bring the Highland Games back to Moraig as a draw.
Penelope is living in Brighton, and is finding her choice of a career in journalism is not going as well as it could. Loathe to accept offers that are ‘less than’ what she believes are suited for her quest for independence, she is frankly floundering a bit. Quick, bright and not to be put off by small obstacles, the invitation to write about the Highland Games in Moraig just may be the spark that is needed to ignite her career.
Arriving in Moraig, Penelope is intrigued by the gruff but knowledgeable highlander that is serving as tour guide and organizer of the event. While it’s apparent that William is solidly loyal to his town, and can wax poetic with the best of them about the town, the highlands and the games, he is surprisingly tongue-tied around her when they are alone. But she feels the spark, and is curious about him, even as they seem to digress on her very determined desire to remain independent.
Similar to other stories I have read from McQuiston, the characters play off one another beautifully with frustration, desire and even utter confusion clear in every interaction and description. Using the town we have come to know from earlier stories, this one adds another layer of description and detail to the area, with plenty of moments to enjoy. McQuiston takes a “love at first sight’ premise and deepens the story and interactions: the perfect set-up for a novella that is filed out despite the brevity of the story to make this a highly enjoyable installment. While you don’t have to read the other titles in the series, this novella should whet your appetite for the other books: and you can see the connections that McQuiston has expertly woven through the story. Wonderfully rich with what I have come to admire as McQuiston’s ability to engage and envelop readers in her stories, this is not to be missed.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.